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Is Indian Wells only beginning of sports cancellations?

Until Sunday night, the impact of COVID-19 on sports in the U.S. felt almost entirely theoretical.

Not anymore.

The BNP Paribas Open, known more commonly as the Indian Wells stop on both the men’s and women’s professional tennis tours, was canceled Sunday due to coronavirus concerns just before it was scheduled to start this week and with many players already in the Palm Springs, California, area preparing for the event.

Though tennis doesn’t always move the needle for mainstream sports fans in America, this is a very, very big deal. Indian Wells is often referred to as tennis’ “fifth Grand Slam,” a tournament that typically attracts all the top-ranked men’s and women’s players because of the significant prize money and ranking points at stake.

Citing the public health emergency declared by the Riverside County Public Health Department due to a local case of COVID-19 and “the safety of the participants and attendees,” tournament organizers went ahead and canceled the tournament, making it the biggest sports event in the world to become a victim of the coronavirus.



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