Tel Aviv, Israel (SportsNetwork.com) - The ATP Tour event scheduled to take place in Israel Sept. 15-21 has been canceled due to security concerns arising from the military conflict in the region.
The tournament would have been the first ATP World Tour event in the country since 1996.
"We regret the ATP World Tour event in Tel Aviv, Israel, will not take place this year. Sadly, we do not feel we can proceed as planned given the situation in the region," ATP executive chairman and president Chris Kermode said. "Ensuring the security of our players, fans and all those involved in organizing a world-class event, is our number one priority. We hope to be back in Tel Aviv next year. In the meantime, and much more importantly, we hope for a swift return to peace in the region."
The tournament slot on the calendar was previously hosted in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"We regret the ATP's decision. We at the ITA have done everything to ensure a successful ATP event takes place in Israel. We have raised sufficient funding and have taken care of all organizational requirements," Israel Tennis Association chairman Asaf Tochmeir said. "On this occasion, I would like to express our most heartfelt concern for the soldiers as well as our condolences for the civilian casualties. We hope to see a swift resolution to the current situation."
Word came late Monday that Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, agreed to abide by the terms of a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire proposal by Egypt. According to reports, nearly 2,000 lives have been lost in the near month-long war between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza. The conflict began July 8 when Israel launched an air strike against Gaza in response to Hamas- fired rockets into Israel.