The BNP Paribas Open is one of the largest tennis tournaments in the world. It’s also the latest in a growing list of canceled sporting events due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Tournament organizers announced the decision Sunday night after a case of coronavirus was diagnosed in the Coachella Valley, where the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is located. The decision was made in consultation with local health care professionals and guidance from the CDC, according to the statement.
Initially, organizers had intended to hold the BNP Paribas Open as planned, saying as recently as Thursday that the tournament would take precautions to protect competitors and attendees. But the confirmed diagnosis changed those plans, leaving many players stunned as a majority of the competitors had already traveled to Indian Wells to begin training. The event was scheduled to begin Monday with qualifying rounds, with the main draw scheduled for Wednesday.
Steve Simon, chief executive of the WTA Tour, told the New York Times organizers had looked at playing the event without spectators, but ultimately decided against it.
“We were supportive of the concept, but ultimately the tournament didn’t feel it was in their best interest.”
Often dubbed the “fifth slam” for its mammoth turnout and prize pool, the BNP Paribas Open is now the largest sporting event in the United States to be canceled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. There has been no announcement as to whether the tournament will be rescheduled.