The Association of Tennis Professionals on Thursday announced the cancellation of the Shanghai Masters and three other men’s tournaments that were to be held in China in 2022 due to stringent COVID restrictions in place in the country. Notably, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in China and hence the country has decided to stick to a stringent zero-Covid policy.
The country did host the Winter Olympics under strict health protocols in February but almost every other international sporting event in the country this year has been canceled or postponed. Recently, the Hongzhou Asian Games were also postponed to next year amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country. As of July 20, mainland China had confirmed 228,180 cases of Covid-19 with symptoms since the pandemic first struck in December 2019.
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi told Reuters last month that the prospects of the 2022 China swing were bleak. “This marks the third year of cancellation for the ATP’s China swing, typically hosted in September and October and last staged in 2019, prior to the pandemic,” the men’s governing body said in a statement.
Notably, China was all set to host four tournaments in September-October. In addition to the October 9-16 Shanghai Masters, China was scheduled to host the Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships, both starting on September 26, and the China Open from October 3-9 in Beijing. Now, with these four tournaments cancelled, the ATP said it has granted single-year event licenses to six ATP 250 tournaments.
“As a global sport we continue to manage the impacts of the pandemic. Event cancellations are an unfortunate reality, and we wish our affected tournament members and fans well. At the same time, it’s incredibly encouraging to have many great cities step up to host ATP Tour tennis this season”, Gaudenzi said.
While the ATP announced the cancellation of tournaments to be held in China, the women’s tour has no events scheduled in China for 2022 as the WTA is still working to find a resolution to the standoff with the country over the Peng Shuai matter.