Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 3 August 2020

CORONAVIRUS

WTA Finals, Shanghai Diamond League among major events cancelled in China

Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix also in peril after government bans international sporting events to contain coronavirus

File photo of the 2019 Wuhan Open tennis tournament. All top-level tournaments in China in 2020 are cancelled, including the WTA Finals, following a government edict against international sports to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus. AFP
File photo of the 2019 Wuhan Open tennis tournament. All top-level tournaments in China in 2020 are cancelled, including the WTA Finals, following a government edict against international sports to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus. AFP

Top-level tennis and the Diamond League athletics meet were among the events cancelled in China on Friday, following a government ruling aimed at controlling the coronavirus spread.

The WTA Finals in Shenzhen and the Shanghai Masters were among the tennis tournaments to be called off. Shanghai's Diamond League athletics and Masters snooker have also gone, promoters said.

The announcement came two weeks after China's General Administration of Sport said most international events this year would be cancelled to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19.

This could also spell doom for Formula One's Chinese Grand Prix and the country's biggest golf tournament.

The cancellations come despite the return of domestic sports in China, with football's Chinese Super League starting on Saturday and fans allowed to attend China Basketball Association games from this weekend.

Women's Tennis Association chief Steve Simon said he was "extremely disappointed" that the women's tennis tour had to cancel seven tournaments including the showpiece WTA Finals.

"We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year," Simon said 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."

The men's Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said it too was cancelling its 2020 China swing, including the Shanghai Masters and China Open in Beijing.

"We respect the Chinese government's decision to do what's best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation," said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP chairman.

Juss Sports, a major Shanghai promoter which stages Formula One in the city, made no mention of the fate of the grand prix – originally scheduled for April but which now looks unlikely.

The $10.25 million (Dh37.6m) WGC-HSBC Champions golf, slated to start on October 31 in Shanghai, is another international event that looks in peril.

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