Britain has gone into a fresh spell of lockdown amid a renewed surge in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country. However, it hasn’t affected the scheduling of the Nitto ATP Finals.
The ATP, the primary custodian and governing body of tennis, has put out a statement confirming that the tournament will go ahead as scheduled. Additionally, all health protocols will be followed to the letter to ensure the safety of players and officials during the event.
Detailing its plans to hold the tournament at London’s O2 Arena within the safe confines of a bio-bubble, the ATP said matches will be played behind closed doors. Moreover, all measures will be taken to ensure the safe conduct of the event for all concerned.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a fresh national lockdown on Saturday, the second for the country, as Covid cases hit the million mark. The announcement came on a day when the governments of Portugal, Austria, and Greece, too, rolled their lockdown plans amid surging caseloads.
The PM said as part of the new lockdown protocols, all non-essential businesses would have to close and people will be advised to stay at their homes.
However, even as the announcements led many in the tennis circles to wonder if the Nitto ATP Finals would go ahead as scheduled, the ATP released a prompt statement saying the event was on.
One of the top events in the ATP calendar, the Nitto ATP Finals are scheduled to be held at the famed O2 Arena from November 15 to 22. The tournament, which features the top-16 of men’s tennis, is among the most widely followed calendar ATP events.
It will also feature rising stars like Daniil Medvedev, last year’s US Open champion Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, the current holder of the ATP crown, last year’s US Open finalist Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev, who is in line to add 200 ranking points to his kitty if he wins the Erste Bank Open title on Sunday. However, Swiss Ace Roger Federer, who is still in rehabilitation mode after undergoing a knee surgery, has opted out of the event.
With 11,740 ranking points under his belt, Djokovic has sealed the No.1 spot in the new ATP rankings. Needless to say, he will enter the tournament as the top seed.
While the ATP has scotched all speculations around the tournament’s conduct in a pandemic year, it remains to be seen if all the players who have enlisted participation in the tournament will make the visit in the light of the lockdown announcement.