Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas says he is looking trying to stage the tournament later in the year after officials overnight cancelled the ‘fifth slam’ on advice from local health authorities over growing coronavirus fears.
But organisers of the Miami Open have confirmed that the 2020 tournament “is moving forward as scheduled”.
“We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place,” said Haas.
“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.”Many believed that Miami would follow suit, but officials announced on Monday that the tournament is going ahead as planned.
“The 2020 Miami Open is moving forward as scheduled, March 23-April 4,” they said in a statement.
“Safety remains a top priority, and we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely with local, state and federal officials and health organisations in the lead up to the tournament.
“In addition we are working with the ATP and WTA tours on recommended best practices and following CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines closely to provide a safe environment for fans, players and staff.”
On Sunday a public health emergency was declared in Coachella Valley, California, after one person was declared with the virus.
Organisers said they looked at holding the event behind closed doors, but eventually took the decision to postpone the tournament after guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Californian health officials.
“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,” Dr David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, said.
“It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighbouring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”
The decision will have a big impact with many players already in the region training.
Last year a record 475,000 tickets were sold over a two-week period. Categorised as a Masters 1000 event for the men and a Premier Mandatory for the women, the combined event has been held annually since 1989.
Many top names in tennis have reacted to the tournament’s cancellation on social media.
World No.2 Rafael Nadal said he was deciding what to do next after describing the situation as ‘sad’.
“You probably all heard the news. Indian Wells cancelled. We are here and still deciding what’s next. So sad for all that is happening around the world with this situation. Hopefully soon solutions from the authorities. Stay all well and safe.” Nadal wrote on social media.
World No.13 Diego Schwartzman called for more information to be provided about tournaments in affected areas around the world.
Next month the tennis tour moves to Europe with tournaments set to take place in Monte Carlo, Spain, Italy and France at Roland Garros.
“The situation is completely understandable. The way to report it leaves much to be desired. There should be more information for upcoming tournaments that are also in the affected cities and countries,” Schwartzman
Coco Gauff was set to play in the tournament for the first time in her career and the teenager said she was ‘sad’ to hear of the decision.
“I was so excited to make my debut in IW, but safety is always the no.1 priority. Stay safe.” Gauff wrote on social media.
Attention will now turn to the Miami Open – another Masters 1000 and Premier Mandatory tournament – that is scheduled to start on March 23.
Popular electronic musical festival Ultra, which is held annually in Miami, has already been cancelled amid fears of the coronavirus.
Fans that purchased tickets to Indian Wells can request a refund for the 2020 tournament or obtain credits for the 2021 edition.