The Fila-sponsored BNP Paribas Open, known more commonly as the Indian Wells, has been called off as the coronavirus continues to spread across the world. The tournament — considered tennis’ “fifth Grand Slam” — is the highest-profile global sporting event to be canceled over concerns about the spread of the disease.
Organizers announced their decision on Sunday, following the news of a confirmed case of the virus in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, where the tournament was scheduled to run March 9-22. Public health officials in Riverside, Calif., have declared a public health emergency and cited the safety risk of holding a public gathering of this size.
Director Tommy Haas said in a statement that his team is looking into holding the event at a later date. Any patron who purchased tickets directly from the tournament can request a refund for the 2020 tournament or a credit for the 2021 tournament.
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“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,” Haas said.
Many players had already arrived in the area to practice. Qualifying matches were to begin today, with women’s main draw matches commencing Wednesday and the men’s draw starting Thursday.
“We are here and still deciding what’s next,” second-ranked Rafael Nadal tweeted this morning. “So sad for all that is happening around the world with this situation. Hopefully soon solutions from the authorities. Stay all well and safe.”
FN reached out to Fila for comments on the impact of the tournament’s cancellation but did not receive a response by press time.
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