March 18, 2020 / 7:21 PM / in 16 days

UPDATE 1-Tennis-ATP, WTA extend suspension of play amid coronavirus outbreak

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NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - The ATP and WTA have extended the suspension of their tours until June 7, the two tennis bodies said in a joint statement on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to shred the sporting calendar.

The claycourt season “will not be held as scheduled” due to the suspension, the organising bodies of the men’s and women’s tours said. The men’s ATP and women’s WTA rankings will be frozen for the time.

“The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community,” the associations said.

“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar.”

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) also postponed its World Tennis Tour until June 8, the organisation said on Wednesday, a day after the French Open announced a shock switch to September from May.

The tournament was rescheduled to a week after the U.S. Open concludes, a move that prompted outcry from players.

The U.S. Tennis Association said there were no plans to reschedule the Flushing Meadows tournament and it would consult with other stakeholders before making any changes.

The ATP and WTA statement urged tennis bodies to work “in unison”, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts major sporting events across the globe.

“Now is not a time to act unilaterally,” the two groups said. “All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game.” (Reporting by Amy Tennery Editing by Toby Davis)

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