BERGAMO, November 23, 2020
Organizers of the Internazionali di Tennis Trofeo Perrel-Faip in Bergamo announced on Monday that next year’s ATP Challenger event will not be held during its traditional February spot on the calendar. The 16th edition of the tournament will be postponed to autumn due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and following ATP’s agreement to the organizers’ request.
“The reason for our choice is simple: February is too early, and with the current restrictions we would be forced to play behind closed doors,” said Marco Fermi, who has been Bergamo’s tournament director since 2006. “Spectators are an important part of our event. We have decided to return in better times and offer the people of Bergamo what the event has always been: a great tennis party.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in late February, Bergamo and its surrounding province have been one of Italy’s hardest-hit areas. Images of a long line of military trucks carrying dead bodies away from the city to be incinerated had made sullen headlines around the world as local hospitals and cemeteries were overwhelmed with victims of the pandemic.
No champion in 2020
Public health emergency was declared precisely during this year’s Internazionali di Tennis Trofeo Perrel-Faip: the tournament was played, but it did not have time to end because the suspension of sporting events was ordered on the day of the final between Illya Marchenko and Enzo Couacaud.
The tournament has already received signals of support from the ATP in order to find an attractive date for autumn 2021, also considering the history of the tournament and the symbolic value of returning to one of the most affected cities from the COVID drama. Playing in October or November could be a historic step, as the tournament will be happy to change the date permanently. Bergamo could become part of an indoor-swing in Italy in the lead-up to the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan as well as the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Interesting list of past champions
As the first of more than 20 tournaments staged in the country, the popular hard-court event at the Pala Norda traditionally kicked off the Italian slate on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Teen sensation Jannik Sinner became the fifth home grown winner in the tournament’s 14th edition in 2019. Matteo Berrettini captured the title the year before. Frenchmen Fabrice Santoro and Benoit Paire as well as Jerzy Janowicz from Poland and Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic can also be found on the winners’ list.
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) February 24, 2019
Play In Challenger Lille held in March next year
In the meantime, organizers of the Play In Challenger in Lille, France, announced the return of the tournament for March 22 to 28, 2021. Due to the pandemic the 2020 edition was cancelled.
Founded in 1920, the TCLLM is the oldest and most significant tennis club in Lille, France. Beginning in 2018, the historic facility hosts an indoor hard-court event on the ATP Challenger Tour. Gregoire Barrere delighted the home crowd with a run to the title in its inaugural edition. The current World No. 108 successfully defended his crown in 2019 when he beat Yannick Maden of Germany in the final in three sets.