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Coronavirus: Indian Wells cancelled over outbreak in Southern California

Jamie Murray: "Doesn't bode well for the tour if [Indian Wells] cancelled for one confirmed case in Coachella Valley"

Indian Wells tennis venue
Image: 475,000 fans attended Indian Wells during its two weeks in 2019

The Indian Wells tennis tournament was cancelled on Sunday over concerns about the spread of coronavirus in Southern 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 David Agus, a doctor at the University of Southern California, with whom tournament organisers consulted about the potential health impact.

The Masters 1000 event that was set to start on Tuesday attracts the game's top players from both the men's and women's sides and drew a record 475,000 fans over its two-week run last year.

The news comes on the heels of the cancellation of music and entertainment festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, also out of concern about the virus.

"Indian Wells organisers were prepared to look at the possibility of holding the tournament on another date", 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," Haas added.

Steve Simon, Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chairman and chief executive, supported the decision.

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"We understand the decision which has been made in the interest of public health and safety which is the top priority at this time," Simon said in a statement.

"The WTA empathises with those affected by the coronavirus in this region and around the world."

World No 2 Rafael Nadal says he is in California and is deciding what to do next while sharing his sadness for those affected by the virus around the world.

"You probably all heard the news. Indian Wells cancelled," he said on Twitter.

"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."

"Doesn't bode well for the tour if [Indian Wells] cancelled for one confirmed case in Coachella Valley," doubles player Jamie Murray said on Twitter.

"Broward County has more confirmed cases," Murray said, referring to where the Miami Open is held.

"Monte Carlo borders northern Italy currently in lockdown. Rome Masters? French Open? Wimbledon?!!!"

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