Photo: Karl Mendoza

Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is with great regret that Tennis Canada announced on Thursday the cancellation of the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger men’s event, the women’s Challenger event in Saskatoon as well as the Odlum Brown VanOpen.

“We certainly understand the decisions made by these three organizing committees who have to think about the health and safety of the fans, the players, the volunteers and their partners. Seeing their tournaments fast approaching, they had to make a decision, as the organization of an international tournament of this scale requires a lot of work and also incurs a number of important expenses,” stated Gavin Ziv, Vice-President, Professional Events at Tennis Canada. “Knowing their passion for their respective tournaments, we know that these three organizing committees are already thinking about the 2021 edition and will continue to proudly represent the regions of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Vancouver.”

The Winnipeg National Bank Challenger men’s event was scheduled to take place from July 13 to 19, 2020 at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club.

“Covid-19 has certainly forced the world to alter its normal state of functioning and our tournament is no exception. As we work together to put this pandemic behind us, maximum focus will be placed on making the 2021 edition the most successful yet. We look forward to working with our sponsors, staff, volunteers, officials and ball kids. The goal of reconnecting with the world’s top players in 2021 in Winnipeg will be a mark of recognition that the world has defeated one of life’s most formidable opponent,” said Mark Arndt, Tournament Chair.

The women’s Challenger event in Saskatoon was supposed to be held from July 13 to 19, 2020 at the Riverside Tennis and Badminton Club.

“We are obviously disappointed, but we understand that we must cancel the 2020 edition of the Saskatoon Challenger due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The players, officials and fans are our priority; therefore, we must take into account their health and safety. For tennis fans in Saskatchewan, this tournament is the highlight of their year. We hope that professional tennis will be able to make a return to Saskatchewan in the coming years,” said Landon Grubb, Tournament Director.

The 18th edition of the Odlum Brown VanOpen, a mixed event on the ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF World Tennis Tour, was scheduled from August 16 to 23, 2020 at the Hollyburn Country Club. In 2017 and 2018, this event was named Tournament of the Year in its category by the ATP Challenger Tour.

“This pandemic transcends tennis and at this time, we must work together and take care of one another. The support of all those who participate in our tournament is remarkable. We look forward to building on our past successes to come back even stronger in 2021 and present the best edition of the Odlum Brown VanOpen,” stated Tournament Director, Rik de Voest.

These cancellations come one week after the announcement of the cancellation of the Granby National Bank Challenger and the National Bank Canadian Open Junior Championships in Repentigny.

(Feature photo: Karl Mendoza)