The Miami Open has become the latest professional tennis event to be called off following the global coronavirus outbreak.
The Miami Open was due to start on March 23 at Hard Rock Stadium – primarily the home of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins – but Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez confirmed that the area was “under a state of emergency”.
The statement read: “Although we do not have community spread at this time, we want to take the preemptive steps to keep it that way. Therefore, I have decided to suspend the operation of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, the Miami Open tennis tournament, the MIA 5K run, and all major events at the American Airlines Arena. The March 22 Nascar race at the Homestead Miami Speedway is postponed at this time. Nascar officials will decide whether or not to hold the race without fans.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Tennis Professionals has suspended all tournaments for six weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. No ATP Tour or ATP Challenger Tour events will take place through April 27.
In addition to the Miami Open, the affected events are the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Monte Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open and the Hungarian Open.
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement: “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.
“The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities. 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.”
The WTA Tour later called off the Volvo Car Open, which was scheduled for April 4-12 in Charleston, South Carolina.