To the surprise of few, the WTA has officially cancelled all of its fall tournaments in China and Japan.
Those include the big 1000s in Wuhan and Beijing.
The WTA Finals in Shenzhen, due to be held in late October, are “still under discussion”, according to the official announcement.
“We are disappointed that our world-class events in China and Japan will not take place this year. We are working on a parallel path to provide playing opportunities in other regions, one being our return to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells as we look forward to this two-week event in October,” is the official quote from WTA CEO Steve Simon.
The Tour is attempting to find alternate locations for some of the other tournaments, to try to maintain the number of playing opportunities.
Right now, the only tournaments scheduled after the U.S. Open right now are a 125 on clay in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the BNP Paribas Open.
Shanghai yet not off the table for ATP
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that ATP people are being told that the Shanghai Masters 1000 is still not off the table.
Whether that’s just posturing remains to be seen.
In the obligatory requirement to mention conflicts of interest, the head of the company that runs the Shanghai tournament sits on the tournament side of the ATP Board.
The holding of that tournament has a substantial impact on the plans for the BNP Paribas Open in October – at least for the men.
Meanwhile, the ATP has cancelled the 500s in Beijing and Tokyo (not news) and shifted Shanghai to that week on the calendar.
But having the players go all the way to China for one tournament – only to turn right back and rush to Indian Wells for a scaled-down ATP event – is some kind of craziness.
At the moment, because of the tight turnaround, the ATP is only planning a 56-player draw at Indian Wells. That could change, of course.
The WTA has the official dates for Indian Wells as Oct. 4-17 and plans a full 96 draw.
The WTA American hard-court moves
The WTA also has officially added a new 250-level tournament in Chicago.
It is slated for the week before the US Open – the same week as another new 250 tournament in Cleveland, about 350 miles away.
The WTA already had booked a 125-level tournament in Chicago the week of Aug. 16 (the same week as the meat of the big Cincinnati tournament).
As well, it has another 125 in Concord, Massachusetts, the week of Aug. 2.
That’s the week that used to host the WTA event in Washington, D.C., when it was a 250 held jointly with the 500 men’s tournament.
Last year, as play resumed after the pandemic stoppage, owner Octagon ended up moving it to Lexington, Kentucky and had both Williams sisters in the draw. But it seems that was a one-off.
This year, there apparently is a four-woman exhibition tournament at the Citi Open, starring Coco Gauff.
(The tournament will have to pay the fines for the four women competing there, as it takes place when there are actual WTA tournaments going on).
This year, the choices are either San José (a 500), a 250 on clay in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, or this 125K tournament in New England.
It’s an unusual year, as that week runs right up against the end of the Olympics.Still, the comparison to the last full season is stark.