Eleven tennis tournaments set to be played in China this year have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both the WTA and ATP have had to scrap all their remaining meetings in the country after China’s General Administration of Sport announced it would not hold any international sporting events until 2021.
The canceled events include the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen, which sees the best eight women of the year compete for prizes worth $14 million.
“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon in a statement.
“We do however respect the decision that has been made and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season.”
‘We respect the Chinese government’s decision’
The ATP has also had to scrap four scheduled tournaments – the Shanghai Masters, China Open, Chengdu Open and the Zhuhai Championships – and said it did so with a “heavy heart.”
“Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events,” said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi in a statement.
“We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation.”
He added: “Chinese fans are some of the most passionate in the world and I know players will be looking forward to the next opportunity to play in front of them.”
Despite reducing the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, China remains cautious about holding international events over fears of another wave of infections.
The tennis season has already been severely impacted by the pandemic with the French Open delayed and Wimbledon canceled for this year.
However, the US Open is scheduled to begin in late August as tennis returns from the lockdown.