Tennis-WTA rules no Asian tournament swing due to COVID-19 restrictions

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WTA 250 - Birmingham Classic

(Reuters) - The WTA wiped out the Asian swing of tournaments from its calendar for a second successive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with only the WTA Finals yet to be cancelled.

The tournaments, which typically kick off after conclusion of the U.S. Open in September, cannot be held due to travel restrictions in China and Japan, the WTA said Thursday, adding that it was working to relocate the events.

"We are disappointed that our world-class events in China and Japan will not take place this year," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement.

"We are working on a parallel path to provide playing opportunities in other regions."

Officials from the governing body of women's tennis said the WTA Finals due to be held in Shenzhen remained "under discussion."

The Indian Wells tournament will occupy some of the calendar after being rescheduled from March to October 4-17, with tournament organisers announcing Thursday that "all fans, staff, sponsors, media, and vendors" must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter the grounds.

A new WTA 250 tournament - the Chicago Women's Open - was added to the calendar as well, kicking off on Aug. 23.

The ATP said on Thursday that the Shanghai Masters intended to stage a competition later this year while the Japan Open Tennis Championships, the China Open and the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech would not go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery, ediitng by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)

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