How is/will coronavirus affect tennis and sport worldwide?

The first outbreak of the Coronavirus was at the end of December in Wuhan, since then the virus has spread to over 80 countries with just over 90,000 cases and over 3000 fatalities as of the 4th of March.

It has become more prominent in Europe with a lot of cases coming from Italy and spreading from there by those who have had contact with someone recently been out there.

There are a lot of questions for tennis fans, how does this affect tennis?

Sport in Italy will be played behind closed doors for a month in an attempt to reduce large crowds from congregating as they hope to contain the virus which has spread massively in the country.

This ban on crowds at sporting events will run until early April but could be extended if rate of infection in Italy doesn’t go down. The Rome Masters of course begin on the 10th of May until the 17th and it does lead to uncertainty around the event.

Will the event happen? Is it worth international fans planning to travel to Rome? It does seem to be a stage keep calm and carry on which is the unspoken message but nothing has been said.

Some things to remember if you are planning a trip abroad.

  • Make sure your trip is ATOL protected
  • If you don’t have travel insurance booked already then get on that ASAP. If you have booked a holiday to a specific destination that is currently under quarantine for coronavirus and haven’t booked insurance then you will not be able to cover yourself if it is booked already and if it were to be cancelled. This is why it is important to book insurance as soon as possible.

The main issue people are seeing with travel is accommodation. Many places will have a non-refund policy despite the potential of travel being unsafe or suspended to specific destinations.

This time last year I was booking a trip to Mutua Madrid Open, there isn’t a issue with Coronavirus in Madrid but personally I would give it a wide-birth for now because of a lack of information coming from governments and organisations.

What has tennis done so far?

Right now, there has been many changes.

The ATP republished their calendar with a few ITF/Challenger events being postponed until later this year because of the outbreak in Asia.

The big question for tennis fans over the next couple of months is mostly around Rome and it will have to be a sit and wait job. More should be known in a months time depending on Italy’s control over the outbreak of Coronavirus there which has seen a complete shutdown of public events and services. Just as of today the six nations match between England and Italy in Rome this month has been cancelled.

Not only does it concern tennis but it will continue to disrupt sport around the world. MotoGP has been suspended in some countries, Rugby has seen cancellations of matches, Serie A in Italy must be played behind closed doors for a month and Euro 2020 is set to be played this summer across multiple cities in Europe.

On the wider scale it does leave Tokyo Olympics at the end of July in limbo. However according to the IOC President Thomas Hach and from info received by WHO (World Health Organisation) there are confident in committing to the planned schedule which you can read more about below:

IOC President Thomas Bach has said “Neither the word cancellation nor the word postponement were mentioned today.” in regards to postponing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to Coronavirus outbreak but surely a plan must be in place?

Further down the line there is the Asian swing especially on the WTA tour. There are ATP events in Beijing, Tokyo and Shanghai but it is the women’s tour which has speculation surrounding it.

From September the events in Asia on the WTA tour are…

September 14th – September 20th
Zhengzhou Open
Japan Women’s Open (Hiroshima)
Jiangxi Open (Nanchang, China)
September 21st – September 27th
Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo)
Guangzhou Open
Korea Open
September 28th – October 4th
China Open – Wuhan (Premier 5 event)
October 5th – October 11th
China Open – Beijing (Premier Mandatory)
October 12th – October 18th
Honk Kong Open
Tianjin Open
October 26th – November 1st
WTA Elite Trophy – Zhuhai
November 2nd – November 9th
WTA Finals Shenzhen

Obviously it is a while away and we all hope that the virus pretty much goes away and everyone can continue with plans without concern but I imagine the WTA will be talking of some plans just incase there is no end of season swing in Asia.

It will just be a case of wait and see what happens, if you are booking trips away make sure you are completely covered!


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