The 2020 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been cancelled.
The tournament which is regarded as the biggest event outside the majors announced changes and were confident of playing despite California declaring a ‘state of emergency’ last week over the outbreak.
In the last few hours players have been told the event that was due to start on Wednesday with qualifying set to begin today and tomorrow will not go ahead.
Organisers have released a statement which says:
The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally. As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event. This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.
“There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size,” said Dr. David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. “It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”
“We appreciate the proactive stance tournament organizers are taking to ensure public health and safety,” said Martin Massiello, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Eisenhower Health.
“We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place, but the health and safety of the local community, fans, players, volunteers, sponsors, employees, vendors, and everyone involved with the event is of paramount importance,” said Tournament Director Tommy Haas. “We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.”
Finding space in the calendar will be tough and has thrown doubts over whether tennis will be played in Miami in a couple of weeks time and further down the line assurances are being sought after regarding Monte-Carlo and Rome Masters.
The WTA have released a statement:
There has currently been no statement from the ATP.
Tennis players Kirsten Flipkens and Sorana Cirstea have taken to social media to ask if they will organise an emergency meeting with players.
Elina Svitolina has also had her say on Twitter…
How did it take until the day the tournament began for this decision to be made? Fans and players hours away from the tournament taking place.
Jamie Murray has also taken to Twitter to make his point:
It is a fair point from both players. Fans continued to travel following reassurances the event would go ahead and have now lost money as Elina has eluded too. Not just fans but players as well, especially those taking part in qualifying who don’t have it as easy as others on the tour.
WTA chief Steve Simon spoke about not speculating over more cancellations but it is understood that Miami is very close as well to being cancelled and it will be touch and go for other events going forward.