Subject to appropriate governmental and health-related approvals, the WTA has announced a plan for the WTA Tour to return to play this season. Competition is provisionally scheduled to begin the week of Monday, August 3 at the 31° Palermo Ladies Open in Italy after five months of suspension due to COVID-19.
The calendar is conditioned on several key factors including the ability for play to safely resume in line with the guidance of medical experts, governmental approval of sporting events, and relaxed travel policies. The WTA’s strategic plan and provisional Tour calendar is in alignment with the efforts of the ATP, ITF, USTA and FFT.
It is currently anticipated that tournaments will be held without fans and each tournament will have a limited footprint, with players and essential personnel only. WTA tournaments will be available for viewing on broadcast.
“Having assessed the global outlook for travel in the latter half of the year, working with our medical experts on providing the safest environment possible, and working through the diverse operational challenges for running events safely in the context of COVID-19, the WTA is pleased to release a calendar for the remainder of the 2020 season,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. “For now, the vital energy of spectators in stadiums will be greatly missed, but our athletes are eager to return to competition and our broadcast and social media partners are exploring new ways to engage with our fantastic fans. It is our sincere hope and desire that we will be able to return to play this summer.”
The calendar includes a total of 20 tournaments, beginning in Palermo. The WTA Tour’s return will see the Western & Southern Open, typically held in Cincinnati, Ohio, being hosted this year at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City -- the same site as, and a week prior to the US Open, which maintains its originally scheduled dates.
Following the US Open, the WTA Tour will continue to Europe with several red clay events, including the Mutua Madrid Open leading into Roland-Garros, with Roland-Garros qualifying scheduled the week of September 21 and main draw the following two weeks, concluding on October 11.
Thereafter, the WTA Tour will traverse to Europe and Asia Pacific, including the China Open in Beijing, with another few weeks of tournament competition leading into the season-ending Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen set for November 9-15. With the provisional plan to return to play this summer, the Porsche Race to Shenzhen will resume, with all points earned in 2020 eligible to count for qualification towards the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen.
Due to various circumstances brought on by COVID-19, several WTA tournaments are unable to be held this year and will sit off the calendar in 2020.（Note: The Upper Austria Ladies Linz is planning to operate in the fall, date to be finalized.）
The WTA rankings have been frozen since March 16, 2020. A determination on the rankings process will be made in the coming weeks with respect to the most appropriate and fair way for the rankings to resume in parallel with the resumption of the Tour.