Reaction as Indian Wells tennis cancelled - is Wimbledon in danger?
Players shocked as California health officials call off tournament over coronavirus
The decision to cancel the Indian Wells tennis tournament over coronavirus fears has generated a mixed response, amid fears that other events – including Wimbledon – could now be in jeopardy.
Organisers in California, where there have been 114 reported cases of the virus, took the decision to call off the event on Monday.
“The tournament, a combined ATP and WTA event which is one of the biggest and most prestigious outside of the Grand Slams, was due to start this week,” reports the BBC.
“Health officials in California said there was ‘too great a risk’ to hold a ‘large gathering of this size’.”
The tournament was due to begin on Wednesday, with 19 or the world’s top 20 male players taking part and stars including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff in the women’s draw.
Rafa Nadal, who was already in California was among those to express his shock on Twitter.
Tournament director Tommy Haas said he hoped to be able to stage the event at a later date.
“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,” he said.
But The New York Times says “finding another two-week window on the overstuffed professional tennis calendar in 2020 will be a challenge”, but notes that other events could also be cancelled.
Andy Murray is hoping to make his comeback at the Miami Open, a similarly high-profile tournament later this month, but his brother Jamie pointed out on Twitter that there had been more cases of the virus in that part of Miami than in Coachella, where Indian Wells takes place. He questioned whether Wimbledon might now be in jeopardy.
“After the two American hard court tournaments players return to Europe to kick off the clay season,” notes the Daily Express.
“The Monte Carlo Masters has a strong possibility of being abandoned as it neighbours northern Italy, where over 16million people are in quarantine.
“If the spread of the disease is not quelled and no vaccine is discovered in the coming weeks then the Grand Slam tournaments, which are generally higher attended events, will have some major decisions to make.”
Other sports have also been impacted, with Six Nations rugby games postponed, European football matches taking place behind closed doors and the start of the new F1 season in turmoil with the Chinese Grand Prix cancelled and fans barred from the Bahrain GP.