Tennis: Auckland Classic cancelled due to COVID-19

The 2021 Auckland Classic tennis event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said on Tuesday.

The New Zealand tournament, which is usually staged in early January, is used by the top players on both the WTA and ATP tours as a warmup for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.

American great Serena Williams won the women’s title earlier this year, her first as a mother, while Frenchman Ugo Humbert won the men’s event.

“We are obviously incredibly sad to share this news but safety has to be our priority,” tournament director Karl Budge said in a statement.

“We look forward to the return of the Classic in Auckland (in the) next year.”

New Zealand has effectively eradicated COVID-19 but maintains strict border controls and travel restrictions to minimize the risk of further outbreaks.