Citi Open Is Latest Casualty Of Coronavirus

Citi Open (photo: Michael Dickens)

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Just 23 days before its start, the Citi Open has become the latest casualty of the 2020 tennis calendar due to the escalating coronavirus in the United States. For the first time in 52 years, there will be no summer tennis in Washington, D.C.

The announcement that the mid-August ATP 500 event would be cancelled was widely rumored Monday morning. Twenty-hours later, rumor became fact. Coupled with concerns about the coronavirus, international travel restrictions also played a major factor in scrapping this year’s Citi Open. The tournament would have been played without spectators at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in northwest Washington.

“It’s disappointing that due to these unprecedented times, the Citi Open will not be able to go ahead this year,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “I know how hard Mark Ein and his team have worked to adapt to new and continually changing conditions and would like to recognize their outstanding commitment to staging the event. Unfortunately for the moment there are still large factors at play which are outside of our control. We look forward to the Citi Open returning as one of our signature American events in 2021.”

Ein, the Washington venture capitalist who took over management of the Citi Open last year, said: “After months of tireless work by our team and close collaboration with our many stakeholders, we are heartbroken to announce that we must unfortunately postpone the 52nd Citi Open until the summer of 2021. With only 23 days left until the start of the tournament, there are too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends, that have forced us to make this decision now in fairness to our players, suppliers and partners, so that they can have certainty around their planning.”

The Citi Open’s cancelation comes at the same time that Major League Baseball is restarting in the United States this week and other U.S. pro sports league as such as basketball’s NBA and WNBA and ice hockey’s NHL are getting ready to resume. World TeamTennis began on July 12 at The Greenbrier luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, with players competing in an quarantined environment.

With the Citi Open removed from the men’s schedule, which will not be filled, the ATP Tour relaunch now takes place at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., with the Western & Southern Open to be played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center from Aug. 22 to 28 followed by the US Open, which is scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. Both are hard court events. Meanwhile, the WTA Tour relaunches on clay with the Palermo Ladies Open in Palermo, Italy, beginning Aug. 3. The first U.S. women’s event is the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky, on hard court, starting Aug. 10.

In reporting by Christopher Clarey of The New York Times, US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster reaffirmed that plans remain on schedule for the tennis doubleheader in New York “with players and officials operating inside a healthy and safety ‘bubble’ similar to those being used by the NBA and other leagues.” Allaster said to Clarey: “We are all in.”