MADRID                  -            The Women’s Tennis Association may seem out of step with other sports bodies in stopping short of a wholesale suspension to its calendar but the WTA says it is to give themselves more time to make informed decisions amid the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP suspended its professional men’s tennis tour for six weeks on Thursday before the International Tennis Federation (ITF) postponed all its events until April 20. The WTA, which runs the women’s tour, initially said it would not follow the ATP before cancelling tournaments in Charleston, Guadalajara and Bogota. “The WTA has an obligation to its members (both players and tournaments) to provide playing opportunities and we feel it’s best if we can offer a bit more time to see if such playing opportunities can take place,” a WTA spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday. The ITF also suspended the revamped version of the Fed Cup Finals - the equivalent of the men’s Davis Cup - scheduled for Budapest in April, while this month’s Indian Wells tournament in Southern California was cancelled at the last minute.

The next WTA tournaments start on April 20 in Stuttgart and Istanbul, marking the start of the European clay court season. “We are in very active communications with the European clay court events and the grass court events,” the WTA added. “We believe it is prudent and respectful to move rapidly but at the same time to not simply react, to take the necessary time to look at and evaluate the European swing in the week ahead and have the proper conversations with our tournaments and players before making that decision. “We expect to make our decision in the week ahead.”