Hong Kong Tennis Open postponed amid ongoing protests

    Protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park on August 18, 2019.

    (CNN)The 2019 Hong Kong Tennis Open (HKTO) has been postponed after organizers claimed they would be unable to guarantee "a smooth running of the tournament" amid ongoing protests in the city.

    Hong Kong has been disrupted for almost 15 weeks by increasingly violent demonstrations, which were initially sparked by an extradition bill.
    The bill, which would have enabled suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China, has now been withdrawn but protests have continued.
      The tournament was due to take place between October 5-13 and was due to be held in Victoria Park, which has become the rallying point for many of Hong Kong's anti-government marches.
      "As the winner of the WTA International event of the year award in 2018, we strive to maintain a high standard of the event for all participants, players and the fans in particular," a statement from the HKTO said.
      "However, after extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, we conclude that a smooth running of the tournament can be better assured at a later time."
      Protesters have targeted transport to and from Hong Kong International Airport in recent weeks, with numerous flights canceled over a two-day period in early August.
      And because the competition -- which was won last year by Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska -- attracts "thousands of local fans and overseas travellers", the organizers made the decision to push back its start date.