London [UK], Mar 12 (ANI): The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on Thursday announced a six-week suspension of the men's professional tennis tour due to escalating health and safety issues arising from the global outbreak of coronavirus.
The suspension means all ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events scheduled up to and inclusive of the week of April 20 will not take place.
"Following the recent cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the affected ATP Tour events are the Miami Open presented by Itau, the Fayez Sarofim & Co U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, and the Hungarian Open in Budapest," the ATP said in a statement.
The six-week suspension comes in the wake of the World Health Organisation'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 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.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP chairman, said: "This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide."
"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," he added.
The suspension of ATP events takes place with immediate effect, meaning this week's ATP Challenger tournaments in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, and Potchefstroom, South Africa, are not able to be completed.
The ATP is carefully reviewing the broad impact of this evolving situation related to FedEx ATP Rankings points, and any decisions will be announced in due course.
In addition, in full collaboration with the ITF, FedEx ATP Rankings points will not be available at any ITF World Tennis Tour events during the suspension period. (ANI)