Tokyo-hosted Pan Pacific Open canceled over safety concerns

Kyodo, staff report

Organizers of the Toray Pan Pacific Open said Tuesday they have decided to scrap the annual women's tournament, slated to be held at Tokyo's Ariake Tennis Park in November, due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Pan Pacific Open is the last of three tournaments held annually in Japan to be jettisoned from the season's calendar, following the cancellation of the Hana-Cupid Japan Women's Open and the Rakuten Japan Open on the men's ATP Tour.

The WTA Premier tournament had already been postponed from September to November because of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement marked the tournament's first cancellation since it began in 1984.

"The Executive Committee looked at every possible way to make this tournament happen, including the idea of holding matches without audiences or restricting admissions in order to prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved," read a statement from tournament organizers.

"However, after a series of deliberations, the Executive Committee made a heartrending decision to rule out the postponement, and concluded that the cancellation of the tournament was the best decision in the interest of public health, especially in light of the concern about the second wave of infection spreading in Japan."

Naomi Osaka won her fourth WTA title and first on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open last year when it was held in Osaka, the city where she was born.

The 22-year-old, who finished runner-up in 2016 and 2018, was the first Japanese player to win the event since Kimiko Date in 1995.

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