In March 2020 a trip to Indian Wells was called off on the eve of the tournaments kick-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic become the first event to fall to the virus, over three months to go until the 2021 edition and has it been called off again, but is there more to it.
The ATP calendar from January until April has been released by the ATP Tour and despite plans going ahead in Miami a trip to California two weeks before is off.
Between the 15th and 28th of December the two areas have seen a major difference in Covid-19 cases.
Miami recorded cases – 15th-28th of December
The area of Broward Country in Miami has seen 12,640 recorded cases in this time which is the home of the Miami Hard Rock Stadium. Palm Beach County has seen 7,786 cases in this time and south of Broward County in Miami-Dade County has recorded 30,225 cases in this time.
Californian recorded cases – 15th-28th of December
In the surrounding areas of the Indian Wells tennis centre they have seen 37,952 recorded cases in San Diego County in this time and in Los Angeles County there have been 200,717 in this time with California on a whole looking it over 500,000 in this time frame.
The organisers released a statement in line with the ATP announcement which reads:
The BNP Paribas Open will not be held March 8-21, 2021 as originally scheduled. The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event.
Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalized. This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison.
Is three months early a bit premature to be postponing a tournament when a lot could change?
A postponement is the official wording but when will it be played? Not forgetting this is in the Californian Desert and temperatures of around 34 degrees will be the average high from May until October and from June to September it doesn’t get below 26 degrees and it would be potentially difficult to squeeze it in around the season finale in Turin with the indoor hard events as well.
There are rumours and have been for some time we could see a demise of Indian Wells.
Larry Ellison who is the co-founder of Oracle and bought the Indian Wells site in 2009 was rumoured to looking to move his headquarters for Oracle to Silicon Valley in Austin, Texas which has started rumours he could look a new destination the event.
The organisers are working with the ATP and WTA to look at an option, I cannot see them being able to squeeze it into the clay court season if that pans out as usual and the heat will be extreme, even more than extreme heat of Melbourne where they play with a closed roof but this is an outdoor event without those facilities.