PARIS (AFP) – The coronavirus pandemic continues to reshape the men’s tennis calendar with Indian Wells absent from the schedule for the eight weeks following the Australian Open, released by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) yesterday.
Indian Wells in California is traditionally the first Masters event of the year on the men’s tour and runs alongside a women’s tournament.
The ATP said “due to the impact of COVID-19” it would not be held on “its customary dates in March”.
The tournament organisers released a statement saying, “This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities.”
“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 organisers said they anticipated that new dates would be arranged.
The Australian Open, originally scheduled to start on January 18, had already been pushed back to February 8-21 in a reconfigured schedule for the first seven weeks of 2021 released on December 17.
Yesterday, the ATP said the Australian Open, the men’s tour would be followed by European indoor events and swings through Latin American and the Middle East leading up to the Miami Open, a Masters event, from March 24 to April 4. Under the revised schedule, the week following the Australian Open will offer tournaments in Cordoba in Argentina and Montpellier in France. They replace events in Santiago in Chile, which has been pushed back two weeks, Acapulco and Dubai, which have been pushed back by three weeks.
The following three weeks, which had been left blank in the ATP schedule, now contain tournaments.
Rotterdam and Buenos Aires host events starting on Monday, March 1 and Santiago, Doha and Marseille hold tournaments the following week.
The tournaments in Acapulco and Dubai will be played in the week of March 8.
The ATP had already announced that events not taking place in 2021 due to the pandemic would include the ASB Classic in Auckland and the New York Open, while the Maharashtra Open in India is under a cloud.
The Rio Open will not take place as originally scheduled, with the ATP saying alternative dates were being considered.
The ATP said, “All subsequent sections of the 2021 calendar, beginning with the spring clay-court season from week 14, remain unchanged at this time.”
It said it was looking at the possibility of adding one-off tournaments to fill gaps in the schedule.