Miami Open becomes latest top tourney canceled


The Miami Open, scheduled to start later this month, was canceled Thursday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The tournament had been scheduled for March 23 to April 5 at the Dolphins‘ stadium complex in Miami Gardens. The tournament moved there last year from its former home on Key Biscayne.

Virtually all the world’s top players had been scheduled to participate except for Roger Federer, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

It’s the second top tennis tournament affected in five days. The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, was postponed Sunday, less than 24 hours before qualifying matches were scheduled to begin.

With Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the cancellation of the Miami Open, along with a county youth fair and all major events at the Miami Heat‘s arena. Two large music festivals in Miami were canceled earlier this month.

“We were looking forward to hosting another world-class event, but our priority remains the health and safety of everyone involved in the Miami Open, including the South Florida community,” tournament director James Blake said in a statement. “As a former player and now tournament director, I understand how disappointing it is for the players, fans, partners and tournament staff who worked tirelessly to get the site ready.”

Blake said they are looking forward to returning in 2021.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The Miami Open draws fans from all over the world, which compounded health concerns. Last year’s attendance totaled 388,734, the most in tournament history. Tournament officials estimated the economic impact for South Florida at $390 million.

The next scheduled tournament larger than the Miami Open is the French Open, the second Grand Slam event of the year, set to begin May 24 in Paris.

Qualifying at the Miami Open was scheduled to begin March 23, with the first main draw matches the following day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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