Australian Open warm-up in Auckland cancelled because of virus

Wellington (AFP) –


The 2021 Auckland Classic tennis tournament has been scrapped because of difficulties hosting during the coronavirus pandemic, organisers said Tuesday.

The New Zealand hardcourt tournament in early January is a warm-up for the Australian Open and has attracted top names in recent years, including this year's women's champion Serena Williams.

Tournament director Karl Budge said the Covid-19 crisis had created an uncertain environment that made it unfeasible to stage such a complex event.

"We are obviously incredibly sad to share this news but safety has to be our priority," he said in a statement.

Budge said organisers are committed to ensuring the tournament goes ahead in 2022.