CALIFORNIA – The Indian Wells Masters, due to begin this week, was postponed after a case of the new coronavirus was confirmed in the Coachella Valley in California.
The Riverside County Department of Public Health has declared a public health emergency for desert cities just over 110 miles east of Los Angeles, including Indian Wells, where the ATP and WTA tournament is held. which would take place over two weeks from Wednesday.
This contest is the first of the Maters category of the year.
“There is too great a risk to public health in the Riverside County area right now to have such a turnout,” said Dr. Davis Agus, professor of biomedical engineering and medicine at the University of Southern California. on Sunday.
“It is not in the public interest of fans, players and residents of the area to continue the tournament. We have to unite and protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak. ”
The contest normally attracts more than 450,000 fans. This year’s participants included Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff.
Tournament director Tommy Haas said organizers are willing to hold the event on a different date or to explore other options.
The expansion of the coronavirus has forced to postpone and, in the worst case scenario, to cancel several of the most anticipated releases in the entertainment industry and other notable events in the cultural world.
The decision to postpone for now was based on the parameters of medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tournament organizers said.
Refunds of the amount of the tickets or the possibility of them being taken into account as credits for next year’s tournament are being offered.
Riverside County health officials said the first case of local COVID-19 transmission is seen at Einsehower Health near Rancho Mirage after testing positive.
The identity of the person was not revealed, in compliance with the confidentiality rules.
Health authorities follow up on people who may have had contact with the patient. An investigation has been opened to determine how that individual contracted the condition.
A charity event that would include Nadal on Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was canceled, said tournament spokesman Matt Van Tuinen.
Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Matteo Berrettini, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and the American Taylor Fritz were going to accompany Nadal in the Eisenhower Cup that awarded $ 150,000 to the winner.
At the beginning of the week, the organizers had announced various measures to protect players, fans and staff working in the tournament.
The ball retrievers would wear gloves and would not be allowed to handle the tennis players’ towels. Player and fan interactions in the tournament would be limited. More than 250 stations with disinfecting alcohol were placed on site.