London, September 14: The Hong Kong Open, a WTA Tour event that was due to begin on October 5, has been postponed because of ongoing protests in the region.
An extradition bill has led to months of civil unrest in Hong Kong and protests have continued despite the proposed legislation being withdrawn.
The tennis event was scheduled to be held in Victoria Park, which has become a meeting point for anti-government marches.
Local organizers and the Women's Tennis Association say the Hong Kong Open has been postponed indefinitely due to widespread protests in recent months. https://t.co/GDNARmMHWX— The Associated Press (@AP) September 13, 2019
A statement on the tournament's website read: "In light of the present situation, Hong Kong Tennis Association and the WTA are announcing a postponement of the 2019 Hong Kong Tennis Open. The event will no longer take place during 5-13 October.
"The Open is the flagship event on our annual calendar and one of the most popular international sporting events in the city, attracting thousands of local fans and overseas travellers every year.
"As the winner of the WTA International event of the year award in 2018, we strive to maintain a high standard of the event for all participants, players and the fans in particular.
"However, after extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, we conclude that a smooth running of the tournament can be better assured at a later time.
"The event organisers and WTA are in active discussion on identifying an alternate week for the hosting of the event. Further announcement will be made in due course."
The Hong Kong Open returned to the WTA calendar in 2014 after a 20-year absence.
Former women's top-ranked players such as Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber have participated in previous years in the event, which forms part of the WTA International series.
Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska is the defending champion, having defeated China's Wang Qiang 6-2, 6-1 in the last year's final.
(With OPTA inputs)