The annual BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, set to start this week in Indian Wells, has been canceled because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19, organizers said in a statement Sunday.
The event typically draws nearly half a million tennis fans to the Coachella Valley each year.
"The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally. As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event. This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California," the statement read.
“'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,' said Dr. David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California," in the tournament's statement.
"'It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.'"
“'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,” said tournament director Tommy Haas. “We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.'"
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"Any patron who has purchased tickets directly from the tournament may request a refund for the 2020 tournament, or a credit for the 2021 tournament."
Those requests can be made here.
The tournament draws top tennis talent, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic expected to vie for the world's number one ranking at this year's event. Serena Williams, Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka were slated to headline women's play.