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Indian Wells, Calif., tennis tourney canceled because of coronavirus case

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., is the most-attended professional tennis tournament in the world, outside of the four Grand Slams. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., is the most-attended professional tennis tournament in the world, outside of the four Grand Slams. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- The 2020 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., has been canceled because of a confirmed coronavirus case in the area.

Tournament organizers announced the cancellation Sunday night. The tournament was set to begin Monday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It included many of the best players in the world from the ATP Tour and WTA Tour.

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"The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley after a confirmed case of coronavirus [COVID-19] locally," a tournament spokesperson said.

"As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event.

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"This is following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and state of California."

The BNP Paribas Open is the largest international tournament outside of the Grand Slams, in terms of attendance.

"There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering of this size," University of Southern California professor of medicine and biomedical engineering David Agus said in the tournament's news release.

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"It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak."

Several tennis stars posted about their disappointment on social media following the announcement, including Rafael Nadal, John Millman, Tennys Sandgren, Denis Shapovalov, Cori "Coco" Gauff and Naomi Osaka.

"I'm so sad to hear about the cancellation of Indian Wells due to the coronavirus," Coco wrote on Instagram. "I was so excited to make my debut here. I understand that safety is the No. 1 priority and I pray that everyone stays safe and healthy. Sending love to everyone."

The WTA and ATP guidelines were also specified for use at the 2020 Miami Open and the 2020 Volvo Car Open, which have not been cancelled. The Miami Open is to begin March 23. The Volvo Car Open begins April 4.

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The French Open is the next Grand Slam on the tennis schedule. The 2020 French Open starts May 24 in Paris. France health minister Olivier Veran said Sunday that the country has banned public gatherings of more than 1,000 people to try and slow the spread of coronavirus. Ligue 1 -- France's top soccer league -- will play its matches behind closed doors until April 15.

Fans who purchased tickets for 2020 BNP Paribas Open can request a refund at BNPParibasOpen.com.

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