The tournament director of the WTA Wuhan Open says that the tournament will not be held if foreign players are not allowed to play the event due to travel restrictions.
Wuhan Open is part of the provisional WTA calendar
The tournament is scheduled to be held from October 19th to October 25th as part of the provisional WTA calendar released earlier this week.
Currently, many foreign nationals are barred from entering China. Perry says the tournament will not go ahead if overseas players cannot come, and that a final decision about holding the tournament would be made in early August.
Wuhan Open co-director Brenda Perry, a former player herself, spoke to AFP about the tournament plans. "I'm thrilled for all my colleagues and friends in Wuhan, and what this will mean to the city and the people of the city.
It's hugely symbolic of overcoming a hugely challenging moment. They went through what seemed to me one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world. To come through that and then hold an international professional tennis event would be amazing for morale and show the world the great job they've done on recovery."
Perry says she understands that players may be apprehensive about playing the tournament. "We probably need to educate, to be honest, what is the reality in Wuhan compared to other cities around the world. They've followed such a stringent lockdown and the recovery process has been so cautious and they still have so many protocols in place.
I would be the very first person to put up my hand if I thought it was not safe to be going there. The tournament is four months from now and if you think back four months, to February, and what has changed and happened for better and worse round the world.
Four months is still a long time for things to change and know what's going to happen." The Wuhan Open is one of the Premier 5 tournaments on the women's WTA Tour and made its debut in the 2014 season. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the most populous city in Central China, is the hometown of two time Grand Slam champion Li Na.
It is also the city where the current COVID-19 pandemic began late last year. Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka has won the tournament for the last two years, beating American Alison Riske in the final in 2019.