At the end of the craziest year in living memory, tennis fans might have a sense of normalcy in the fall.
The ATP Tour announced its revised schedule for the remainder of the 2020 season on Friday, with a number of familiar events in their usual slots.
A couple of changes were made to the original schedule released in June, which only went up to the French Open, which will now end in October. This new calendar outlines the remainder of the season, barring any further COVID changes, including the European indoor swing leading up to the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
Minor Clay Tweaks
The ATP initially announced their revised schedule on June 17, although there have been a number of changes since, most notably the cancellation of the Citi Open and Mutua Madrid Open.
As a result, a few changes have been made to the September clay court schedule.
It still feels weird writing “September clay court schedule.” The final clay court event of the season usually takes place in July.
The big change is that the Internazionali BNL D’Italia has been moved up a week into the slot previously held by the Madrid Masters. That will give players a week off between the Masters 1000 event and the French Open, just like normal. It will now begin on Sep. 14.
Rafael Nadal must be over the moon.
The Hamburg European Open, which was not originally included in the ATP’s revised schedule, will now move into Rome’s old slot the week before the French Open.
Almost Full European Swing
The last six weeks of the season will look almost the exact same as it would have if not for the pandemic.
Six of the nine events that were originally scheduled will be played.
Still on the schedule as usual are the events in Moscow, Antwerp, Vienna, Paris and London.
Stockholm, Basel, and the Next Gen ATP Finals have all been cancelled. The Davis Cup Finals were cancelled back in June.
The only other major change revolves around the St. Petersburg Open. Normally held in September, the event will be the first of the European indoor swing, starting on Oct. 12. It has also been upgraded to a 500-level event, taking Basel’s place.
Additionally, the ATP Sofia Open, which in previous years had taken place in February, will be held in the second week of November between the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals.
ATP Finals Survive
With no Davis Cup, the ATP Finals will serve as the finale for the 2020 season, albeit without fans in the stands.
The year-end championship will take place from Nov. 15 to 22 in London.
As always, the top eight players will qualify for the season-ending event, although the procedure for selecting them has changed slightly.
Normally, the top eight players in the “Race to London,” based only on points earned in the calendar year, qualify for the event. Instead, because of the disruption, the regular 52-week rankings will be used.
The ranking system was edited to facilitate the pandemic, cancelled tournaments, and withdrawals over COVID fears last month.
The new rankings system includes results dating back to March 2019 and, if an event was played in both 2019 and 2020, uses a player’s best result. So for example, Nadal gets to keep 2000 points from winning the US Open last year, even though he is skipping this year’s event.
So far, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Dominic Thiem have qualified for the ATP Finals, as they are guaranteed to remain in the top eight in the rankings for the remainder of 2020.
Daniil Medvedev, defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini currently sit in qualifying positions.
Roger Federer would qualify based on his current ranking of No. 4 but has already withdrawn from the rest of 2020, so Gael Monfils is currently in line to take his place.
Asian Swing Long Gone
Friday’s announcement confirmed what had been long suspected: the entire Asian swing has been cancelled.
That is five events gone, most notably the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai.
The removal of these events from the schedule should not come as a surprise seeing as the government of China announced earlier in July that it would not host any international sporting events for the remainder of 2020.
Four of the five events on the Asian swing take place in China. The Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship in Tokyo has also been cancelled, marking two events, the Olympics being the other, that will not be played in Tokyo this year.
ATP tennis is expected to return on Aug. 22 with the Western and Southern Open in New York, instead of its usual home in Cincinnati.