ATP suspends men's professional tour for 6 weeks over coronavirus outbreak

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) announced Thursday there will be a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to the coronavirus outbreak that has affected communities around the globe.

The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells already was canceled. The Miami Open, U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, Grand Prix II, the Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and the Hungarian Open all are affected by the ATP’s decision to suspend play. The ATP Challenger tournaments also are affected.

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“The six-week suspension comes in the wake of the World Health Organization’s declaration on Wednesday that COVID-19 constitutes a global pandemic and the 30-day travel restriction announced by the United States for foreign nationals from 26 European countries,” the organization said in a news release.

“The suspension follows numerous local government orders on restrictions, bans or cancellations of public gatherings or events. The ATP has been closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation related to COVID-19, taking advice from medical experts and travel advisors and consulting with all local regulatory authorities, and will continuously review the feasibility of subsequent events in the calendar.”

The ATP said it was monitoring the situation.

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“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide,” ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said. “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.”

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It’s unclear whether the Women Tennis Association (WTA) was planning to follow suit.

The suspension runs through the week of April 20. It's unclear how May's French Open will be affected.