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ATP Tour suspended for six weeks due to coronavirus

By Dom Farrell

London, March 12: The ATP Tour has been suspended for six weeks because of coronavirus health and safety concerns.

The decision means ATP Tour and Challenger events have been called off up to and including the week of April 20, with major tournaments including the Miami Open and Monte Carlo Masters affected.

In a statement, the tour said: "The ATP has announced a six-week suspension of the men's professional tennis tour due to escalating health and safety issues arising from the global outbreak of COVID-19."

Other tournaments that will not take place as scheduled include the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Barcelona Open and Budapest's Hungarian Open.

This week's Challenger tournaments in Nur Saltan, Kazakhstan, and Potchefstroom, South Africa, are to be abandoned.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, with 124,518 cases and 4,607 deaths confirmed.

The ATP said its decision followed the WHO announcement and the United States' 30-day travel restrictions affecting foreign nationals from 26 European countries.

"The ATP has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation related to COVID-19, taking advice from medical experts and travel advisors and consulting with all local regulatory authorities, and will continuously review the feasibility of subsequent events in the calendar," the tour's statement added.

This week should have seen the BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells dominating the tennis agenda, but that two-week tournament, featuring ATP and WTA events, was postponed on Sunday (March 8).

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said of the six-week tour suspension: "This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide.

"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."

Gaudenzi added: "We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and we look forward to the tour resuming when the situation improves. In the meantime, our thoughts and well-wishes are with all those that have been affected by the virus."

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Story first published: Thursday, March 12, 2020, 20:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 12, 2020
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