Covid-19 Cancels China Swing of the ATP Tour for Third Consecutive Year

Peng Shuai
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For many countries it feels as though the coronavirus pandemic is finally under control, but the country where Covid-19 started is still struggling. Events in China are still being cancelled and postponed, including the Chinese swing of the ATP Tour, which has not taken place since 2019.

This section of the season should have involved major events including the Rolex Shanghai Masters, and three ATP500 tournaments in Beijing, Chengdu and Zhuhai.

ATP Tour Calendar Changes

Following the tour calendar being disrupted for a third consecutive year, the ATP has had to make some changes to the calendar.

This includes six new ATP 250 tournaments, that have been issued as single-year events for the 2022 season:

  • 19th-25th Sep – San Diego, USA (Hard)
  • 26th Sep-2nd Oct – Seoul, South Korea (Hard) & Tel Aviv, Israel (Indoor Hard)
  • 10th-16th Oct – Florence, Italy (Indoor Hard) & Gijon, Spain (Indoor Hard)
  • 17th-23rd Oct – Naples, Italy (Hard)

As well as these six new ATP250 events, the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, which was originally supposed be an ATP250, has now been upgraded to an ATP500 tournament. It will take place the week of the 3rd October, alongside the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo.

The rest of the season is set to go ahead as originally planned, and will culminate at the ATP Finals in Turin.

What is happening to the WTA tour in China?

The WTA has not had to make this decision, as they had already suspended all tournaments in China, following the disappearance of former doubles #1 Peng Shuai.

This came after Peng had seemingly accused China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex on social media. The post has since been taken down and the former tennis player has since claimed (likely under duress) it was all a misunderstanding.

There have been sightings of Peng, including at the Winter Olympics earlier this year, but WTA tour chief Steve Simons has made it clear that there are still concerns for her wellbeing.

It remains to be seen as to whether either tour will return to China in 2023, but the issue of Peng Shuai’s safety needs to be the priority.

Main Photo from Getty.