BNP Paribas canceled as COVID stifles US


Indian Wells 2021 postponed Image: ATP Tour

The COVID-19 situation is getting deadlier in the United States with every passing day. Keeping the unprecedented health emergency in mind, the 2021 chapter of the BNP Paribas Open, one of the biggest events on the tennis calendar, has been postponed following consultations with health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison.

One of the most important American tennis tournaments will not take place in the United States this Spring because the country has not been able to bring the deadly disease under control, tennis officials announced recently. It is most likely not to be held until late 2021.

The Indian Wells Masters, also known as BNP Paribas Open and the WTA Indian Wells Open, is an annual tennis tournament held in early – and mid-March at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, United States.

The tennis spectacle had been due to take place from March 8th-21st, 2021. Organizers will now work with the ATP and WTA Tours, along with title sponsor BNP Paribas, to confirm fresh dates to stage the event later in the year.

The BNP Paribas Open is one of the most popular tennis tournaments outside of the Grand Slams and draws crowd by the horde – 400,000 fans each year (US). The 2020 edition of the tournament was canceled outright following the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus in March last year.

Organizers informed that ticket holders for this year’s event will be given more information as soon as the new dates are confirmed. The event is held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden complex in Palm Springs, California, which includes 16,000-seat and 8,000-seat venues.

Like with every other sport, the fatal respiratory disease had a disastrous impact on the tennis calendar in 2020 as Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War Two. The US Open was also held sans fans, while only a handful of spectators were permitted at the French Open, which was postponed by four months.

In December 2020, it was confirmed that this year’s Australian Open would be held in February, later than originally scheduled. Players will arrive in Australia from January 15th and undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days ahead of the tournament, which will take place from February 8th-21st, 2021.

Tennis Australia has laid out an initial plan for 25 percent capacity at the three main stadia for the Australian Open and has launched a zone-based ticket scheme focused on these venues.

“Alternative dates are being assessed for the tournament to potentially take place later in the year,” the ATP Tour said in a statement.

Future events remain on the schedule for now and BNP Paribas Open organizers said they were working with the men’s and women’s tours to find an alternative date later in 2021.

Officials have been scrambling for weeks to try to find a way to salvage the event as COVID-19 takes a monstrous form in the United States, especially in California.

The tournament, known informally as the ‘Fifth Slam’, represents a rare chance to promote the sport with nearly all of the top guns in the world in the United States. Now, those players will most likely appear in the United States at the Miami Open in late March, assuming that tournament remains on the schedule, and then return after Wimbledon in midsummer for the hard court season that culminates with the United States Open in late August.

Now, the schedule for the first quarter of 2021 has essentially been redrawn. The Australian Open moved from the last two weeks in January to the middle two weeks in February. Several tuneup tournaments have been shifted or canceled.

Instead of at Indian Wells, tournaments will take place in Qatar, Chile (South America), France and Mexico.

Tennis officials are keeping fingers crossed that after Miami, the sport can embark on its usual clay-court schedule in the Spring, with events in Monte Carlo, Madrid (Spain), Rome (Italy) and then the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, which is scheduled to begin in late May.

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