Tennis

Coronavirus forces cancellation of Indian Wells

After a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the valley — the desert east of Los Angeles — the organizers made the decision to cancel the tournament, a statement announced."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, on Sunday."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."The decision to cancel the event came after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of California.Outside of the four grand slams, Indian Wells is of one of the tennis season's most prestigious events.Dubbed the "fifth grand slam," the tournament — which is located 130 miles to the east of Los Angeles — draws some of the largest crowds for a tennis event in North America. The tournament offers equal prize money for men and women, with a total prize pot of just over $17 million ($8,542,680 per Tour).Many of the world's leading players, including men's world No.2 Rafael Nadal, had already arrived in California for the event where qualifying was set to start on Monday, with main draw matches scheduled for Wednesday."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 ournament director Tommy Haas. "We are prepared to hold it on another date and will explore options."Any ticket holder can request a refund or credit for the 2021 tournament. Steve Simon, Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chairman and CEO, stressed the focus is firmly on "protecting the health of our players, staff, volunteers and fans who attend our events.""The WTA empathizes with those affected by the coronavirus in this region and around the world," he said in a statement. "We are disappointed our fans will not be able to come out and watch the event, and our players are also disappointed to not compete over the next two weeks, along with the sponsors who support the event. However, we understand the decision which has been made in the interest of public health and safety which is the top priority at this time. "It is too soon to speculate about what will happen to other tournaments that follow. We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Health and safety will always come first."Nadal, 33, reacted to the news on Twitter, calling the spread of the coronavirus "sad," while Romanian player Sorana Cirstea criticized the WTA, saying that she only found out the news on Twitter.READ: Chaos and confusion as Italian sports minister calls for Serie A suspension amid coronavirus outbreak

A worsening situation

On Friday, competition organizers had announced Read More – Source

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