Roland-Garros delay bites as Den Bosch, Cologne cancel 2021 tournaments

The WTA announced changes to its calendar on Friday while two of its events will not be staged in 2021

The decision by Roland-Garros to move back a week in the calendar – ostensibly in the hope that more fans will be allowed into the grounds to boost its financial status – has its first victims.

The Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, announced on Friday that it would not be staging the combined ATP/WTA event in 2021 “because the challenges the tournament faced were too difficult to overcome this year”. The Cologne Open, planned for May 14-21, has also been postponed to 2022, the WTA said.

“With the current restrictions in The Netherlands, it is impossible to welcome spectators and hospitality guests, key elements to the success of the tournament,” tournament director Marcel Hunze said in a statement. “Without the presence (of) enthusiastic fans, the characteristic atmosphere of Libéma Open is missing. The decision of Roland-Garros to move up a week would have further impacted our event. The focus now is on preparing for a great edition in 2022. The Libéma Open will be held from 4 till 12 June 2022.”

Other events to follow suit?

The news was not entirely unexpected, with the three events that had been planned for the week after Roland-Garros, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stuttgart and Nottingham, all placed in a difficult position once the second Grand Slam event of 2021 announced it would be moving, with its second week now in the June 7-13 slot originally given to the three Tour events.

The decision meant the grass-court season in 2021 will be just two weeks before Wimbledon, a return to the calendar the Tours had before Wimbledon moved back a week in the schedule in 2015, in order to give grass more of a presence.

In a statement on Friday, the WTA announced several changes to its proposed calendar, up to the US Open, adding that the Nottingham event would be updating its status shortly and confirming that Cologne. “The 2021 edition of tournaments in Cologne and ‘s-Hertogenbosch will unfortunately not operate this year but look forward to returning to the calendar in 2022,” the WTA said.

  • Week 20 (May 17) – Anning, China moves to Belgrade, Serbia (2021 only)
  • Week 21 (May 24) – Strasbourg moves to week 21 with Roland Garros taking place in weeks 22-23
  • Week 23 (June 7) – Nottingham under discussion, update forthcoming
  • Week 28 (July 12) – WTA 250 tournament in Bucharest, Romania moves to Budapest, Hungary
  • Week 28 (July 12) – WTA 250 Prague moves from May to the summer and changes from clay to hardcourt
  • Week 29 (July 19) – Washington, DC moves to Gdynia, Poland and changes from hardcourt to red clay
  • Week 34 (August 23) – New WTA 250 hardcourt event in Cleveland, Ohio

“We are excited to announce the next series of events on the 2021 Tour calendar, as this season has already proven to be outstanding with the level of tennis we have witnessed thus far,” WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said. “We are especially appreciative of the commitment in which all the tournaments and players have put forth in order to operate efficiently and safely during these challenging times.”

“We are also very excited about our WTA 125 initiative as we look to grow the number of playing opportunities for our athletes to support their progression through the sport.”

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