One of Asia’s top women’s tennis tournament, the WTA Pan Pacific Open in Japan, has been called off first time due to Coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Tuesday.
The cancellation of the event, which was scheduled for November, follows last week’s axing of all international tennis tournaments in China for 2020.
The Pan Pacific’s demise ends a continuous run for the tournament since 1984 and leaves Asia with only one Women’s Tennis Association event, October’s Korea Open, on this year’s coronavirus-wrecked schedule.
It is also another scrapping for sport in Japan after the Tokyo Olympics, originally due to start last week, were postponed for a year over COVID-19.
“We were trying to find ways (to hold the Pan Pacific Open), such as having no audience or limiting the number of spectators,” organizers said in a statement.
“But we reached the tough conclusion that we have to cancel the tournament given the difficulty of ensuring the safety”, they added.
The tournament had already been postponed from September to November, with organizers hoping the delay would allow them to hold the event.
In 2019, Pan Pacific Open drew outsize attention in Japan thanks to hometown hero Osaka, who became the first Japanese player to win the tournament since Kimiko in 1995.
The Pan Pacific Open is only the latest sports event to fall by the wayside as the deadly virus continues to rage.