Virus stops play
THE first Masters tennis tournament of the year, the BNP Paribas open in Indian Wells (USA), has been postponed due to health concerns about the coronavirus while the future of upcoming events remains uncertain. There had been at least one confirmed case of the disease locally and the decision was made after consultation with health care professionals. A statement on the event website said “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 Centres for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.” The upcoming Miami Open is looking doubtful before the tour moves to Europe. The Monte Carlo and Rome tournaments are the first on the timetable there and the Rome event in particular is threatened as the virus sweeps through Italy. As things stand there is a window in the ATP calendar later in the season as both Chinese events (Beijing and Shanghai) have been cancelled and are highly unlikely to be rescheduled. This is seen as the likeliest date to play the cancelled tournaments, assuming the situation improves.