6 Oct 2020

Covid cancels ASB Tennis Classic

4:21 pm on 6 October 2020

January's ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland has been cancelled due to complications running the event amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tournament director Karl Budge said plans were well underway for the tournament but with too much uncertainty amid the Covid-19 environment its been cancelled.

Serena Williams celebrates after winning the 2020 ASB Classic.

2020 ASB Classic women's winner Serena Williams. Photo: Photosport

"Yea obviously an incredibly sad day for us," Budge said.

"We thought we had a plan that was robust, but unfortunately there just not a pathway to a decision that we could have in the timeframes we needed and unfortunately that's led to the pretty tough environment that we're in today."

Quarantine restrictions were just one of the hurdles organisers weren't able to overcome.

"It's an incredibly complex situation. There's no sort of one off area that we met or didn't meet. There's a myriad of factors that we needed to work through.

"Unfortunately there just wasn't the pathway to get to a point that any of us could have confidence that we could deliver what you need to to deliver a

tournament of our standing in a timeframe that would enable us to do it."

Budge has refused to blame the Government for the cancellation.

"We've had support from a number of stakeholders throughout this process, unfortunately despite a lot of good effort we've just not been able to get to a position that we can get the decision we needed.

"Whether we like it or not we have to cop it on the chin and move on."

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge.

ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge Photo: Photosport

Karl Budge says the cancellation doesn't mean the end of the Auckland tournament.

"We're going to be bloody steely in our determination to go and take the ASB Classic to new levels.

"We've been here for 60 years and no virus is going to stop the ASB Classic becoming the annual showpiece that it's become and what we've known for a number of years.

"We've got to make sure that we come back stronger.

"We've had incredible support from our sponsors (and) the team that we've got here that work tirelessly on trying to make a summer of tennis happen and I think we owe it to them to do everything that we possibly can to ensure that we return in 2022 and we return with a real statement."