The Prudential Hong Kong Open has been left out of the WTA’s provisional calendar for 2020 but local organisers are confident the popular tournament can find a suitable date towards the end of the year. The Women’s Tennis Association this week released its proposed schedule for when tennis returns in early August from its four and a half month Covid-19 shutdown. The 2019 tournament was cancelled because of anti-government protests that had plagued Hong Kong since June last year. This year, the coronavirus pandemic forced almost all sports around the world to shut down, with the men’s and women’s elite tennis circuits coming to a halt in the second week of March. “The dates in October are now cancelled and we at the HKTA are working closely with the WTA to determine a suitable date for this year’s event,” said Hong Kong Tennis Association spokeswoman Edith Lun. We are excited to announce a plan for the WTA Tour to return to play this season! Competition is scheduled to begin the week of August 3 ---> https://t.co/QJZSIBnF7N pic.twitter.com/yI5hxFq41s — wta (@WTA) June 17, 2020 Seven tournaments in China are on WTA’s provisional calendar including the Wuhan Open in the week starting October 19. Wuhan was the original epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 3,000 deaths in the city. The Hong Kong Open has traditionally been held in early October. The cancelled 2019 tournament was set for October 5-13 at Victoria Park while the 2018 event was held from October 8-14. Hong Kong Tennis Open postponed as protest disruption claims another sporting event The Asian swing of the provisional WTA Tour starts with the Korean Open in Seoul on October 5 before moving to Beijing for the China Open (October 12), Wuhan Open and Jiangxi Open (both October 19) and Zhengzhou Open (October 26). Tokyo hosts the Toray Pan Pacific Open from November 2 before the circuit returns to China for events in Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Guangzhou. The Hong Kong Open could possibly fit into the same week as the Zhengzhou Open, starting on October 26 with the WTA having space for another tournament during that week. It would also make sense to hold the Hong Kong tournament to complete the southern China series towards the end of November. The Hong Kong event is popular among players, winning the 2018 award for best international tournament after beating out 32 other events of similar stature. Lun said the sponsor, insurance giant Prudential, is still aligned with the Hong Kong tournament, which was launched in 2014. “It is still the Prudential Hong Kong Open,” said Lun. Some of the biggest names in women’s tennis has played in Hong Kong over the years, including seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams, Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, Japan’s two-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka and Spain’s former Wimbledon and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza. Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska is the reigning champion, beating China’s Wang Qiang in the 2018 final in straight sets. Previous winners are Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia, 2017), Wozniacki (2016), Jelena Jankovic (Serbia, 2015) and Sabine Lisicki (Germany, 2014). The WTA season is set to resume on August 2 with the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy. The next confirmed event is the Western & Southern Open in New York before the players compete in the second grand slam of the season, the US Open. Wimbledon has already been cancelled this season because of the coronavirus but the French Open in Paris has been delayed until September 27. The restart of professional tennis remains conditional on the overall state of the globe’s battle against the virus, with some players sceptical about whether either the women’s or men’s circuits can resume amid fears of a second wave Covid-19 outbreak.