Tennis - ATP 500 - Mexican Open

Tennis - ATP 500 - Mexican Open - Princess Acapulco Stadium, Acapulco, Mexico - February 29, 2020 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S.

05-03-2020HENRY ROMERO - REUTERS - REUTERS

Majorcan tennis star Rafael Nadal has reacted to the cancelling of the BNP Paribas Open 2020 which was scheduled to start this week in Indian Wells.

The most prestigious event outside the Grand Slams and tour finals, was cancelled yesterday, over concerns about the spread of a coronavirus in Southern California.

Nadal was set to be joined by defending BNP Paribas Open champion Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Matteo Berrettini, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and American Taylor Fritz for the Eisenhower Cup, a $150,000 winner-take-all event.

But the cancellation forced Nadal to take to Twitter sending an emotional message to all concerned.

Tournament director Tommy Haas said organisers are prepared to play the event on different dates and will explore options.

The decision to postpone was based on the guidance of medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control and the state of California officials, tournament officials said.

Refunds for this year?s event or a credit toward next year?s tournament are being offered.

Earlier in the week, officials had announced several measures to protect players, fans and staff at the tennis tournament.

Ball kids were going to have to wear gloves and not touch the towels of players on the court.

Organised player and fan interaction was also going to be limited at the tournament which is informally referred to as the fifth Grand Slam because of its popularity with players and fans, many of whom come from overseas.

Besides ball kids, restaurant and food supply workers were going to wear gloves as well as volunteers taking tickets at entrances. Over 250 hand sanitising stations were set up throughout the venue.

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