The WTA Tour has released another chunk of its schedule, through the US Open.
And there are a lot of cancellations, relocations and other adjustments – so what else is new?
The schedule before Roland Garros has been tweaked a bit.
The tournament in Anning, China – a major outlier in the European clay-court season – has been moved to Belgrade, Serbia for this year.
It joins a new clay-court event in Parma, Italy two weeks before the main event.
With the postponement of Roland Garros to the following week, the other Roland Garros warmup in Strasbourg will also move forward a week, to the week of May 22.
Meanwhile, a new women’s tournament in Cologne, Germany (which was barely even on the radar for most), will not take place in 2021.
Grass season a mess
The grass-court tournament in Nottingham, England that is scheduled for what is now the second week of Roland Garros is now “under discussion”.
Meanwhile, the other grass event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands will not be held this year – on either the ATP or WTA sides.
So you’d imagine the French Federation has to compensate them financially.
Stuttgart stays in place for ATP, Belgrade adds another
The ATP has confirmed a few more changes in the coming weeks.
It is also cancelling its tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. But the Stuttgart grass-court event, now scheduled for the second week of Roland Garros rather than the week after, remains the week of June 7.
The ATP also has added two more events the week before Roland Garros, which had become a gap week with the Grand Slam being pushed forward.
Belgrade, Serbia, which is playing host to an ATP event next week, will have a second tournament that week.
That’s in addition to the new one-year tournament in Parma, Italy, announced earlier this week.
That means that Geneva and Lyon, which are now two weeks before Roland Garros instead of the week before, remain in place.
Clay season after Wimbledon
The WTA event in Prague, typically held on clay before Roland Garros, is moving to the week after Wimbledon. And it will no longer be on clay, but on a hard court.
The other WTA tournament that week, which was in Bucharest, Romania has been moved to … Budapest, Hungary.
Budapest was supposed to play host to the BJK Cup finals this week. But those were cancelled for the second year in a row.
Got that straight?
Meanwhile, the women’s Citi Open tournament, which was relocated to Lexington, Kentucky last year as owners Octagon couldn’t come to terms with the people in Washington, D.C., is on the move again.
That tournament is now in … Gdynia, Poland, and will be on clay. And it will be the week before the scheduled Olympics in Tokyo.
So that will be a challenge.
US Open warmup in Cleveland, not Granby
As we reported earlier in the week, a new WTA 250 tournament will debut in Cleveland, Ohio the week before the US Open.
It is owned and managed by the TopNotch Management group. And the waterfront site looks like a great place to watch tennis.
There was/is supposed to be a second warmup event that week, as a lot of the women like to play the week before the U.S. Open.
That license (which nominally still belongs to the now-defunct Quebec City tournament), had been planned to be used in Albany (in upstate New York) last year.
Obviously the pandemic played havoc with that. And it’s the same in 2021, as the organizers there can’t make it happen financially because of local restrictions and lack of sponsor enthusiasm.
We’re told there had been brief discussion of having it in Granby, Quebec, which has been the site of a men’s and women’s Challenger-level tournament the last few years.
But it’s already a huge challenge for Tennis Canada to even hold the more lucrative Coupe Rogers in Montreal. Adding another event in which several hundred people need to cross the border – not to mention the costs of keeping it COVID-safe – quashed that notion in the preliminary discussion phase.
The official quotes
Here are the official press-release quotes from WTA chairman Steve Simon
“We are excited to announce the next series of events on the 2021 Tour calendar, as this season has already proven to be outstanding with the level of tennis we have witnessed thus far. We are especially appreciative of the commitment in which all the tournaments and players have put forth in order to operate efficiently and safely during these challenging times.
“We are also very excited about our WTA 125 initiative as we look to grow the number of playing opportunities for our athletes to support their progression through the sport.
“As we continue to operate in a COVID-19 environment, the WTA remains committed to putting health and safety at the forefront by following the guidelines provided by healthcare professionals and local health authorities.”