Indian Wells cancelled due to Coronavirus spread

The prestigious Indian Wells tournament has been cancelled because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The tournament in California is often considered the “fifth Grand Slam” and qualifying was set to start on Monday with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

Players had already started arriving in California, including world No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

However, health officials have said there was “too great a risk” to hold a “large gathering of this size”.

“We are prepared to hold it on another date and will explore options,” said tournament director Tommy Haas.

“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,” added Haas.

The competition attracts more than 400,000 fans to Indian Wells each year but the decision to cancel the tournament came after a confirmed case of coronavirus in the local Coachella valley area.

“It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighbouring areas for this tournament to proceed,” said Dr David Agus, professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California.

“We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak.”

The virus has already spread to more than 80 countries and more than 3,000 people have died as a result.

Andy Murray’s brother, Jamie, was one of the first to react to the news and he questioned whether future tournaments – including Wimbledon – would now go ahead.

“Doesn’t bode well for the tour if IW cancelled for 1 confirmed case in Coachella Valley. Broward county (Miami Open home) has more confirmed cases. Monte Carlo borders northern Italy currently in lockdown. Rome Masters? French Open? Wimbledon?!!!” He tweeted.

Meanwhile, Nadal urged everyone to stay safe.

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