The organisers of the Toray Pan Pacific Open have announced the cancellation of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally scheduled to be held at Tokyo’s Ariake Tennis Park in November, it is the last of three Japanese tennis tournaments to get the axe over concerns surrounding the virus.
Previously scrapped were the Hana-Cupid Japan Women’s Open and the Rakuten Japan Open – with the latter being part of the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) circuit.
“The Executive Committee looked at every possible way to make this tournament happen, including the idea of holding matches without audiences or restricting admissions in order to prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved,” said the organisers in a statement.
“However, after a series of deliberations, the Executive Committee made a heartrending decision to rule out the postponement, and concluded that the cancellation of the tournament was the best decision in the interest of public health, especially in light of the concern about the second wave of infection spreading in Japan.”
A regular part of the Asian WTA calendar, the Pan Pacific Open has been held every year since its inauguration in 1984.
The hard court tournament is rated as a WTA Premier Tournament and had already been postponed from September to November after the ATP and WTA Tours were disrupted.
Naomi Osaka, Japan’s top tennis player, won her fourth WTA title and first on home soil at last year’s Pan Pacific Open, in a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
To date, there have been more than 30,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, resulting in the deaths of 998 people – with daily cases recently hitting an all-time high in the capital of Tokyo.
Ariake Tennis Park is due to host the tennis events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed until next year because of the virus.