(Reuters) – The ATP suspended its professional men’s tennis tour for six weeks on Thursday, citing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, which has upended major sporting events across the globe.
The announcement came moments after Miami-Dade County said it would suspend the Miami Open and on the heels of Sunday’s last-minute cancellation of the Indian Wells tournament in Southern California.
The decision was not taken lightly, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement, adding that the suspension represents a great loss for players and fans.
“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,” he said.
Impacted events include the Clay Court Championships in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Monte-Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open and the Hungarian Open.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the coronavirus crisis as a pandemic, meaning it is spreading fast across the globe, as countries scramble to contain the outbreak.
Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Toby Davis