Tennis Fiji counts the cost of cancellation

Saoirse Breen competes in the Fiji Open Tennis Championship in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Saoirse Breen competes in the Fiji Open Tennis Championship in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FILE

TENNIS Fiji expects a loss in revenue from the cancellation of the annual Fiji Open Championship in May because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennis Fiji said it had also affected some of its development programs. The Fiji Open Championship which attracts more than 100 overseas players each year is one of the major earners for TF.

Tennis Fiji president Richard Breen said the Fiji Open was the biggest tournament on their calendar with part of the revenue generated used to pay it development officers.

Breen said with neighbouring countries New Zealand and Australia implementing flight restrictions overseas, they had no choice but to postpone the event until next year.

“We have paid for the flights of the overseas referees and are in consultations with the airlines to get a refund,” Breen said.

“The payments for the courts have been done, so we will have to see if we can to get a refund or leave it as payment for next year’s event.

We could have pushed the Fiji Open to a later date in the year, but the International Tennis Federation has also postponed its current schedule which would lead to an uncertainty to stage it at on another favourable date.”

Eleanor Schuster of Samoa won the women’s singles title last year while Frenchman Thomas Perrin made it back to back men’s singles title winning it in 2018 and 2019.

Breen said the announcement of COVID-19 as a global pandemic had led to the placement of significant restrictions on local and international sporting events in Fiji.

He said the confirmation of Fiji’s first COVID-19 case in Lautoka had prompted the closure of non-essential businesses, banned gatherings of more than 20 people and also banned sporting events until further notice.

“Under these circumstances, Tennis Fiji has cancelled all tennis events and tournaments until May 31.

“This includes the Easter Open next month, 2020 Fiji Open Tennis Championships and HLB Junior Tennis Series Round Three.

“This has been a tough but necessary decision that Tennis Fiji is certain is best for the health and safety of the local and international tennis community.

“Tennis Fiji is grateful for the dedication and passion that the Easter Open and Fiji Open receive every year and we are now looking forward to hosting even better events in 2021.”

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