WTA CEO Steve Simon says that the tennis circuit may not resume in a normal manner until 2022 due to the global pandemic in an interview to The National.
WTA CEO Steve Simon on the resumption of the tennis circuit
As of now, the WTA Tour is scheduled to resume on August 3 in Palermo and events in the United States remain on schedule in August as of now, including the US Open in late August.
Speaking to The National, Simon says, "We still have a lot of issues, with quarantine, this is going to be an ongoing issue the rest of the year. Everything week to week is provisional right now, but we got to the point that we should try to do as much as we can, and use this year as a learning test; how are we going to live with this virus, and how are we going to begin to operate moving forward, because this is not going away tomorrow.
And we have to figure out how to move forward, with the same point of keeping everybody safe; because if you’re looking for normalcy, you probably won’t see that until 2022, and that’s a long time away."
Simon did agree to the views of players that the current resumption may not be fair for everyone but he adds that this is the best possible scenario keeping in mind the long-term vision for protecting as many tournaments as possible and providing as many players as possible the opportunities to earn income.
"We have to try to provide income opportunities for our athletes, our tournaments, to keep them viable. You don’t want to lose your sponsors, you don’t want to lose your broadcast partners, you have to try to work within this new environment in as safe a way as you can.
The risk that you run is if you don’t operate, these numbers [of tournaments] could even fall down further because of the economic realities that are going to come with sports in general." Speaking about hosting of the WTA events in China during the fall season, Simon says that the WTA Tour is still hopeful and are in talks with the government authorities there after China had said it will cancel most sporing events for the rest of the season.
"I think we’ll know next two weeks whether we’ll be able to play in China or not. We certainly hope that we do. We’ve had conversations with the governmental entities within China and they’re obviously looking at a much bigger picture than just tennis, which we have to respect and we do respect.
I don’t know whether we’ll be there or not, I think it’s 50-50 right now." The WTA Tour has been shut, along with the ATP Tour and ITF Pro Circuit, since March due to the current pandemic.