The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. has been canceled due to the spread of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, tournament organizers announced on Sunday night.
“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 attendees at the event,” read the press release. “This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.”
Many players were blindsided by the announcement and said the first they had heard of the news was on Twitter. Longtime pro Kirsten Flipkens even suggested that there be an emergency meeting with the WTA and its players.
@WTA isnt the least you can do is organizing an emergency meeting with the players????
— Kirsten Flipkens (@FlipperKF) March 9, 2020
Tommy Haas, the Indian Wells Tournament Director said:
“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. We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.”
This is the first major sports cancellation in the United States following the global outbreak of the virus, and could create a ripple effect throughout the sports landscape in this country as we move closer to the spring.