The Indian Wells Masters will be skipped for a second consecutive year according to the provisional first-quarter 2021 tournament calendar released on Tuesday by the ATP.

With a three-week delay in the Australian Open clogging up the works, the Tour has been forced to adjust to the new February 8 start in Melbourne due to COVID-19 restrictions.

One major victim of the January-March lineup is the Indian Wells Masters, the popular men’s and women’s event normally played in the first half of March in the Californian desert.

But with Riverside country as well as LA 150 kilometres to the west experiencing the full brunt of America’s out of control virus epidemic, tournament officials preferred to give it all a miss.

Indian Wells was the first tournament cancelled last March just days from the March 12 start due to one virus case in the area.

“This (most recent) decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament (tech billionaire) owner Larry Ellison,” a statement read.

Billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison with girlfriend Nikita Khan at The Tennis Garden.

“The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event. Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalised.”

Going ahead in late February after the Australian Open are events in South America, Rotterdam and the south of France.

“Other tournaments, including the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, are happy to contribute to a solution,” Rotterdam TD Richard Krajicek said of his event’s three-week delay.

“Shifting the entire calendar, it has no impact on the strength of our field and the players can also start well-prepared here.

”The new date has few consequences for our preparations. We have become accustomed to ever-changing circumstances.”

The March schedule now shows Doha (from January), Dubai (February), Santiago, Buenos Aires and Marseilles. 

The month is due to end in the current virus hotspot of Florida with the Miami Masters March 22 to April 4, it’s regular dates.

The ATP has said that while it hopes to play the entire spring clay season unchanged – Estoril has already confirmed it’s April-May dates) the body is open to granting one-year tournament licenses to fill in any scheduling gaps.

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