Coronavirus Affects Tennis At Indian Wells
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells was canceled for the first time in its 46-year history.
After the coronavirus reached Coachella Valley in Southern California, officials announced that the local Riverside Public Health Department had declared a state of emergency and that Indian Wells, “following the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control, and the State of California,” would be canceled.
The cancellation of a big tournament due to unfortunate circumstances isn’t anything new for the world of tennis. From 1915 to 1918, Wimbledon wasn’t played due to World War I and from 1940 to 1945, it wasn’t played due to World War II. However, that was a long time ago when technology was hardly developed. That being said, this begs the question, why are the matches not being played in front of a television audience only?
According to Steve Simon, the WTA’s chief executive, the possibility was seriously discussed.
“We were supportive of the concept,” Simon told The New York Times. “But ultimately the tournament didn’t feel it was in their best interest.”
It could be assumed that “the tournament didn’t feel it was in their best interest,” was mainly concerning the fact that without live audiences the tournament would lose out on millions of dollars. To be fair, that is a reasonable argument because those who invest in and run the tournament have families to feed and bills to pay.
Nevertheless, what about the players who don’t have multi-million dollar endorsement deals? How are they expected to pay for their travel, food, hospitality, and various other expenses with many tournaments likely to cancel? Even if tournaments are temporarily transitioned to a no live audience format, will ball boys and girls be expected to attend?
The Truth About The Coronavirus & Tennis
Sadly, the same way tennis officials have failed us as fans, I have failed you, the reader. I have raised many questions and have provided very few answers. And, for a good amount of time, it will most likely remain that way. In reality, many players will have to be willing to pursue part-time jobs and side hustles to provide for themselves and their families. As for us, the fans, we will almost surely have to get used to hearing disappointing news in terms of our favorite tournaments.
As for other tournaments canceling, we should look at the Miami Open, Roland Garros, and the Italian Open. For example, the Miami Open is likely to cancel, considering that its host city recently canceled two major events, the Calle Ocho and Ultra music festivals. Additionally, France, the host city of Roland Garros, has already put a ban on all assemblies of 1,000 people or more. Lastly, the Italian Open is also under major concern due to the large outbreaks in Italy, and sporting events already being played to empty arenas there.
Our Duty As Tennis Fans
Regardless of what tennis officials eventually decide, we must first consider the players and viewers attending these events as humans and not just numbers. The lives of these individuals should always take priority over this sport, no matter how great it is.
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