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ATP Tour halts play for six weeks; WTA cancels four tournaments

An empty center court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
An empty center court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
(Al Bello / Getty Images)

The Women’s Tennis Assn. on Thursday confirmed the cancellations of the Miami Open and the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C., as well as two international tournaments and said it will soon make a decision regarding scheduled European clay court tournaments.

The men’s tennis tour, the Assn. of Tennis Professionals, announced earlier Thursday it had suspended play for six weeks for its tour and the lower-level ATP Challenger Tour. That decision covers the Miami Open, the U.S. men’s clay court championships in Houston, and tournaments in Marrakech, Morocco; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona, Spain; and Budapest, Hungary.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, which was scheduled to begin this week, was canceled on Sunday.

Steve Simon, chairman and chief executive officer of the WTA, cited safety and health concerns surrounding the coronavirus, as well as restrictions on travel to and from Europe for the cancellations of the Miami and Charleston events.

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Later in the day, tournaments in Bogata, Colombia, and Guadalajara, Mexico, were also canceled.

“There isn’t anything more important than protecting the health of our players, staff, volunteers, and fans who attend our events, along with the general public,” Simon said in a statement. “We are disappointed but the decision has been made in the interest of public health and safety, which is the top priority.

“The WTA, working alongside our player and tournament leaders, will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the European clay court season.”

The Miami Open, like the BNP Paribas tournament, annually attracts top players from the women’s and men’s tours.

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“We were looking forward to hosting another world-class event, but our priority remains the health and safety of everyone involved in the Miami Open, including the South Florida community,” tournament director James Blake said in a statement. “As a former player and now a tournament director, I understand how disappointing it is for the players, fans, partners and tournament staff who worked tirelessly to get the site ready. We thank everyone for their understanding and support and look forward to returning to Hard Rock Stadium March 22-April 4, 2021.”

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ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi added that his group will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis in hopes of resuming play in six weeks. The French Open, the second grand slam of the season, is scheduled to start May 24.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide,” Gaudenzi said in a statement. “However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.”


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