Indian Wells Tennis Tournament Will Return This Year

The BNP Paribas Open, the first great American Sports event to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic announced its comeback on Thursday.

The prestigious tennis tournament, held annually in Indian Wells, California, did not take place in 2020 and has been postponed from its regular March dates that year.

After extensive negotiations with the numerous interest groups in professional tennis, the event will take place in October. The exact dates have not been set as the tours for men and women are not due to complete their late-season calendars until June. But Tommy Haas, a former player who runs the tournament, said the BNP Paribas Open would be full cash. The numbers for this year are not yet clear, but the 2020 prize pool should be $ 1.36 million for each individual champion.

Many tennis events reduced prize money during the pandemic due to the loss of ticket and sponsorship revenue. The Miami Open, held in March after being canceled in 2020, reduced their compensation. Individual champions earned $ 1.35 million in 2019, but only $ 300,000 in 2021. The drastic cuts led to complaints from John Isner. the 2018 men’s winnerand other actors about the transparency of the decision-making process.

But Haas said the BNP Paribas Open are determined to keep the prize money at the usual level.

“I think the players will be really excited about that,” Haas said on a video conference call on Thursday. “That’s how it should be. You’ve obviously been going through some tough times. Your schedule was kind of upside-down with travel restrictions and trying to be in one bubble at a time. I hope October will get a little easier around that To play prize money that we think is deserved. “

The BNP Paribas Open, owned by American billionaire Larry Ellison, is particularly popular with players for its desert location, extensive facilities and relaxed atmosphere. It is the most important tennis event outside of the four Grand Slam tournaments and the end-of-season championships for ATP and WTA.

“As a German-American citizen, I’ll call it my own little Oktoberfest this year, which will be great, especially since Munich has already had to cancel,” said Haas, referring to the yearbook German festival that is not staged this year.

The 2020 BNP Paribas Open was canceled shortly before the March qualifying tournament after a coronavirus case was discovered in the area and Riverside County, California public health officials declared a state of emergency. Many players, including the Spanish star Rafael Nadal, were already there. The decision was made so quickly that many players and officials found out about it on social media.

“Once we canceled, we went to work the next day to see how we would bring this back,” said Philippe Dore, the tournament’s media and marketing director. “I think we have our version 25 of budgets and different scenarios.”

More than 450,000 spectators attended the event in 2019, and Haas was hoping to have a large number of fans again in October. California has, and is, eased pandemic-related restrictions in certain countries with the aim of fully reopening the economy next month. Tickets for the BNP Paribas Open are expected to go on sale on June 21.

“We will follow all guidelines,” said Haas. “Obviously, safety is paramount. It comes first and we want to make sure everyone is very, very comfortable. “

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