Indian Wells tourney off due to COVID concerns

The 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, often referred to as tennis’ “fifth major,” has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Originally scheduled for March 8-21, the tournament in California will now be held at an undetermined date later this year.

“The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event,” the tournament said in a news release. “Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalized.”

This marks the second consecutive year the event has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The BNP Paribas Open was the first tournament canceled during the 2020 season due to the virus. The ATP and WTA tours ultimately both suspended play through August.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in conjunction with the ATP’s release of its revised schedule for the first quarter of the year. The tour will now hold events in Doha, Qatar; Santiago, Chile; Marseille, France; Acapulco, Mexico; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in place of the one in Indian Wells.

Miami, traditionally held immediately after Indian Wells, remains in its usual dates on the calendar, March 22-April 4. The ATP didn’t release the schedule beyond Miami but indicated there would be little change from the typical spring season.

“All subsequent sections of the 2021 calendar, beginning with the spring clay-court season from week 14, remain unchanged at this time, with all tournaments planned to take place as originally scheduled,” the ATP said in a statement.

The WTA has yet to announce its schedule beyond the first seven weeks of the season.

The Australian Open, the first major of the year, was delayed by three weeks due to the virus and is now scheduled to begin on Feb. 8. Players are expected to arrive in Melbourne between Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 to begin a 14-day quarantine. Qualifying events for the Slam will be held Jan. 10-13 in Doha and Dubai.