Players Left In Shock As Indian Wells Becomes Biggest Tennis Event Suspended Due To Coronavirus - UBITENNIS
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Players Left In Shock As Indian Wells Becomes Biggest Tennis Event Suspended Due To Coronavirus

The major announcement has raised concerns about if other big tennis tournaments will also be cancelled in the coming weeks.

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The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has claimed its biggest casualty in the world of tennis with the prestigious BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells being suspended for the first time in its history.

 

A day before the qualifying rounds was set to get underway, a public health emergency was declared in Coachella Valley following a case of the virus in the area. Which is also known as Covid-19. Organizers took the decision to postpone the tournament following guidance from medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and State of California.

“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,” said Dr. David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. “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.”

The decision will have a massive impact with many players already in the region training. Indian Wells is one of the biggest events to take place outside of the grand slam tournaments. Last year a record 475,000 tickets were sold over a two-week period. Categorised as a Masters 1000 event for the men and a Premier Mandatory for the women, the combined event has been held annually since 1989. Although a men’s tournament was first held back in 1974.

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

There has been more than 100,000 cases of Coronavirus around the world that has resulted in numerous countries declaring national emergencies. In America specifically, there has been an estimated 500 cases and 21 deaths caused by the virus. However, the figure is still significantly less than the worst hit European country of Italy where there has been over 7000 infections and 366 deaths, according to latest figures.

Steve Simon, who is the head of the WTA, said that organisers at Indian Wells looked at numerous options. Including playing matches behind closed doors. Two governing bodies of the sport, the WTA and ATP, recently announced ‘precautionary health measures’ to combat the threat of Covid-19. Speaking with the New York Times, Simon admits he is unsure if other events will be affected.

“It is too soon to speculate about what will happen to other tournaments that follow. We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Health and safety will always come first.” He told The Times.

‘So sad’

Commonly known as the ‘fifth slam,’ many top names in the world of tennis have already reacted to the suspension of the tournament on social media. World No.2 Rafael Nadal has said he is deciding what to do next after describing the situation as ‘sad.’ The Spaniard is hoping that the threat post Covid-19 will not affect the Olympic Games where he is targeting a gold medal.

“You probably all heard the news. Indian Wells cancelled. We are here and still deciding what’s next. So sad for all that is happening around the world with this situation. Hopefully soon solutions from the authorities. Stay all well and safe.” Nadal wrote on social media.

Nadal was in with a chance of reclaiming the world No.1 spot in Indian Wells if he won the title and rival Novak Djokovic didn’t reach the semi-final.

World No.13 Diego Schwartzman has called for more information to be provided about tournaments in the affected areas. After this month, the tennis tour moves to Europe with numerous tournaments set to take place in Monte Carlo, Spain, Italy and France.

“The situation is completely understandable. The way to report it leaves much to be desired. There should be more information for upcoming tournaments that are also in the affected cities and countries.” The Argentine said.

Coco Gauff, who is the youngest women in the top 100, was set to play in the tournament for the first time in her career. The teenager was another player to say they were ‘sad’ to hear about the decision.

“I was so excited to make my debut in IW, but safety is always the no.1 priority. Stay safe.” Gauff wrote.

On the other hand, some players have questioned why the decision has been made so late. The women’s qualifying draw was scheduled to start on Monday.

According to journalist Christopher Clarey from The New York Times, players already at the venue will still be allowed to train there over the coming days.

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Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev sign up to play exhibition tournament in Khimki

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Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev have signed up to play an exhibition tournament in the Russian city of Khimki in the Moscow region in June.

 

Khachanov won his first Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy in 2018. He broke into top 10 of ATP Rankings in June 2019 and achieved his career-high of number 8 on 15th July. Last year he reached two semifinals at the Masters 1000 tournament in Montreal and at the China Open in Beijing (ATP 500 tournament). He defeated Juan Martin Del Potro to reach his first Roland Garros quarter final. The Russian player also advanced to the quarter finals in Indian Wells, Halle, Moscow and Vienna. In 2020 he won four of his five singles matches at the ATP Cup for the Russian team, who qualified for the semifinals before losing to Serbia. He advanced to the Australian Open third round for the second consecutive year and to the quarter final in Dubai in the last tournament played before the suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rublev started the 2020 season with back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and two quarter finals in Rotterdam and Dubai.

The best WTA players expected to take part in the Kimkhi tournament are Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudemertova, two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vitalia Diatchenko. Pavlyuchenkova came back from a set down to beat Angelique Kerber advancing to the quarter finals for the second consecutive year at the 2020 Australian Open.

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Barty’s father said that her daughter was sad and wanted to step away from tennis in 2014

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Ashleigh Barty rose up the ranking sas a teenager after finishing runner-up at three Grand Slam doubles tournaments with Australian veteran Casey Dellacqua at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2013. The Aussie team also won one title at the Birmingham Classic. Barty decided to step away from tennis in 2014 to play women’s cricket and started playing for the Western Suburbs Cricket Club, a local team that competes in Brisbane Women’s Premier Cricket Twenty League.

 

“It was too much too quickly for me as I have been travelling from quite a young age. I wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences”, said Barty at that time.

 Ashleigh’s said during a webinar organised by the Active SG Voyager Tennis Academy that he was not surprised when his daughter decided to step away from the sport after the 2014 US Open.

“Ash was sad all the time. She was not herself on the court. I said to my wife that we had just got to make sure that Ashleigh was happy. Her happiness was more important. Were we disappointed ? Of course we were, because we love watching tennis and we were hooked on tennis. To see Ash happy and see her around her sisters and having fun again was so much better than having her miserable and going out and playing tennis”, said Rob Barty.

Barty started her 2019 season with a runner-up finish to Petra Kvitova in Sydney. The Aussie player reached her first quarter final at the Australian Open, where she beat Maria Sharapova before losing again to Kvitova. Barty won her first maiden Premier Mandatory title in Miami and claimed her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros. Barty became the first Australian player to win at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.

Barty followed up her Roland Garros with a back-to-back title in Birmingham on grass. She has become the second Australian player to be number 1 in the WTA Ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Barty’s winning streak came to end when she was beaten by Alison Riske in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Barty reached the semifinal in Wuhan before winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen beating Elina Svitolina in the final. Barty finished the season as the world number 1. Last January she started the 2020 season with a title in Adelaide before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in the semifinal at the Australian Open. During her career Barty clinched eight singles titles and ten doubles titles.

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Juan Martin Del Potro Splits From Coach

The tennis star has announced a big change to his team.

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Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is on the hunt for a new coach after agreeing to end his collaboration with Sebastian Prieto to continue focus on his rehabilitation from injury.

 

Del Potro has been working alongside Prieto since 2017 and achieved a series of career milestones under his guidance. Including winning his maiden Masters 1000 title at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open and reaching a ranking high of third in August that same year. Their decision has been made to allow Prieto to focus all of his attention on Juan Londero. Another Argentine player who is currently ranked 62nd in the world.

“I want to share that I have agreed with Sebastian Prieto to end our partnership, so that he can work with Juan Londero, while I continue my rehab process,” Del Potro said on Twitter.
“I’m very thankful to Piper for all of these years together. He is a great coach and even a better person. All the best!”

45-year-old Prieto is a former ATP player who peaked at a ranking high of 22nd in the doubles. During his career, he won 10 Tour titles with all of those occurring on the clay. He also reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles tournament at the 2003 French Open.

It is currently unknown as to who will be taking over as Del Potro’s new coach. The former grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since last June due to a serious knee injury. At the Fever-Tree Championships in London, he fractured his right kneecap and was forced to undergo surgery to repair it. The second time he had to undergo that procedure within as many years after also suffering a similar injury at the 2018 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Del Potro is currently undergoing rehabilitation and it is unclear as to when he will be able to return to the Tour again. All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled until at least July 31st due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although both the US Open and French Open are hoping to go ahead as planned.

So far in his career, the 31-year-old has won 22 ATP titles and earned almost $26 million in prize money. Earning more money than any other player from his country in the history of the sport.

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