Of the 57 tournaments on the 2020 WTA calendar following the tour shutdown last March, 44 were canceled. The loss of the nine fall events in China alone represented around $30 million in missed prize- money opportunities for players, while cancellations also struck a financial blow to the WTA itself.
“This has hurt everybody significantly,” tour CEO Steve Simon said in an interview with the New York Times. “Whatever people have in reserves are going to get burned up, no question. But we are fortunate that we’re in a position that we can manage it. It’s not going to be easy, not easy for anybody, but we’ll get through it.”
WTA CEO Steve Simon. (Getty Images)
The myriad people and organizations who rely on the tennis economy, including the hundreds of lower-ranked players who compete on the ITF World Tennis Tour, will be hoping lessons gleaned from the few safely hosted events in 2020 can be applied in a very uncertain 2021.
A February 8 start date for the Australian Open has thrown the first wrench into the Tour’s calendars, but Simon remains optimistic for at least a partial return to normalcy in 2021.
“The season will start later than usual due to the quarantine that will be required, Simon told Tennismajors.com, but the good news is that the players will go to a very secure environment to play there and then we can fully plan for the rest of the season.”