Miami Open 'moving forward' after Indian Wells axed due to COVID-19
Indian Wells has been cancelled but the tournament in Miami is still on. /VCG

Indian Wells has been cancelled but the tournament in Miami is still on. /VCG

Organizers of the Miami Open said Monday the tournament was still set to go ahead, a day after the ATP/WTA Indian Wells event in California was cancelled due to coronavirus.

A brief statement released by the Miami Open organizers on Twitter said preparations for the March 23-April 5 event were "moving forward as scheduled."

"Safety remains a top priority, and we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely with local, state and federal officials and health organisations in the lead up to the tournament," the statement said.

"In addition we are working with the ATP and WTA tours on recommended best practices and following CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines closely to provide a safe environment for fans, players and staff," it added.

The statement came less than 24 hours after organizers of this week's ATP/WTA Indian Wells event said the tournament was being cancelled – just days before it was due to begin.

Indian Wells is the most high-profile sporting event to be cancelled in North America because of the coronavirus.

Officials said they opted to call off the event – regarded as one of the biggest tournaments in tennis outside of the four Grand Slams – after California authorities declared a public health emergency in the region east of Los Angeles where the tournament is staged.

That declaration followed confirmation of a COVID-19 case in the region.

Last week, Indian Wells organizers said they planned to go ahead with the tournament but had put in place a range of health measures such as hand-sanitizing stations, beefed-up cleaning protocols and gloves for ball kids, volunteers and food workers.

Florida health authorities on Friday confirmed two deaths from COVID-19, the first U.S. fatalities outside the west coast states of Washington and California.

Source(s): AFP