ATP revises schedule; Italian Open moves up


The ATP on Friday issued a revised provisional calendar for the rest of 2020, highlighted by the Italian Open changing dates to take the place of the canceled Madrid Open.

Play in Rome will now begin a week earlier than planned, on Sept. 14, the day after the US Open men’s final. The earlier start will also affect the WTA, for whom the Italian Open is a high-value Premier 5 event.

Other changes include the elevation of the tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, from a third-tier ATP 250 to an ATP 500, and the cancellation of the ATP’s experimental Next Gen ATP Finals.

“Tennis is starting to find its way back and, while we must first and foremost look after the health and safety of everyone involved, we are hopeful we will be able to retain these playing opportunities and produce a strong finish to the season,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

The revised provisional ATP calendar consists of 13 events. The tour, as well as the WTA, was hit hard by the cancellation of the entire post-US Open Asian swing, which is the customary prelude to the fall events in Europe.

In addition, it was announced that the ATP Finals, scheduled for Nov. 15-22 in London, currently will be held without fans. The ATP, however, allowed for the possibility for that decision to change at a later date.

“I would like to commend the tournaments for their continued commitment, flexibility and resourcefulness in finding solutions to operate under these challenging circumstances,” Gaudenzi said.

He also stipulated that the tennis calendar was subject to change due to potential safety concerns triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, and that the ATP might be issuing single-season sanctions to other first-time events.

Both Madrid and Rome are premium, top-tier ATP 1000 events that have been strong fixtures on the spring calendars of both the ATP and WTA for many years, helping to prepare players for the French Open — the second Grand Slam of the year.

French Open officials acted swiftly and unilaterally in response to the pandemic in the spring, moving the start of their tournament from late May to mid-September. The tournament was pushed back even further, to its current Sept. 27 start date, as the pandemic forced further changes in the calendar.

The Italian Open has replaced the cancelled Madrid event as the major tuneup for the French Open. Due to the new start date, even those who do well in Rome will have a few additional days to prepare for the start of the French Open. Rome will also feature a Monday final. Further details including the size of qualifying and main draws are yet to be announced.

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