By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday July 1, 2021
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has locked down its dates in October. The tournament will take place from October 4th to 17th, with the WTA even taking center stage in the first week, and a slimmed-down men’s draw joining from October 10-17.
There were also significant changes made to the ATP and WTA calendars on Thursday as both tours sent out press releases, along with the BNP Paribas Open.
Here is what we learned:
WTA Events in Asia Canceled
The WTA announced that it would not be holding events in Asia in October, but did say that negotiations to find a solution for the WTA Finals Shenzhen were still taking place. At the moment it isn’t clear if the tour plans on holding the event in Shenzhen or moving it to a temporary location in another venue.
“Due to continued COVID-19 concerns and travel restrictions in China and Japan, the WTA tournaments traditionally scheduled in Chinese Mainland and Japan will not operate this year,” the WTA said in a statement. “This applies to all events except for the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, which is still under discussion.
Efforts are being made to relocate tournaments and provide equal playing opportunities in the fall season.”
The WTA says they are working to find other playing opportunities in September and October, in addition to the 96-player singles and 32-player doubles teams draws at the BNP Paribas Open.
“We are disappointed that our world-class events in China and Japan will not take place this year,” stated Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “We are working on a parallel path to provide playing opportunities in other regions, one being our return to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells as we look forward to this two-week event in October.”
ATP Beijing and Tokyo Canceled, Shanghai Could Be Moved
The ATP has officially canceled the 500-level events in Tokyo and Beijing, and added that they may try to move the Shanghai Masters to that time slot (October 4-10). At this time it isn’t clear if Shanghai would be played in another country.
“The Rolex Shanghai Masters, an ATP Masters 1000 event, maintains its intention to stage this season, with the possibility of taking place in Week 40 (to be confirmed),” the ATP said in a statement. “Elsewhere, the China Open (Beijing) and Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo), both ATP 500 events scheduled in Week 40, have confirmed their cancelation in 2021 due to restrictions related to COVID-19.”
The ATP will host a 56-player singles draw at Indian Wells, as well
as a 28-team doubles draw.
BNP Paribas Open Will Require Proof of Vaccination from Fans
BNP Paribas Open Tournament Director Tommy Haas released a statement about the tournament’s draw sizes, prize money and its decision to require vaccination from fans, staff and media.
Here is a portion of the statement:
“The first-ever fall edition of the BNP Paribas Open will feature a women’s event with 96-player singles draws, 32-player singles qualifying draws, and 32-team doubles draws, while the men’s event will feature 56-player singles draws, 28-player singles qualifying draws, and 28-team doubles draws.
“The top men’s and women’s players will once again return to the desert to compete for the title, with $15.3 million in available prize money, the most for a combined ATP and WTA event of this size since the start of the pandemic.
“After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, the 2021 BNP Paribas Open will celebrate the return of professional tennis to the desert. “The BNP Paribas Open in October is going to be a can’t-miss occasion,” said Haas. “We know that our fans have been eagerly awaiting our return, and we are looking forward to delivering an unforgettable event that celebrates the unique Tennis Paradise experience.
“With health and safety as the tournament’s top priority, the BNP Paribas Open will require all fans, staff, sponsors, media, and vendors to show valid proof of full vaccination in order to enter the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the tournament. In addition, depending on the COVID-19 conditions at the time of the tournament, additional testing as well as mask mandates in certain seating areas may be required by the Riverside County health department and the state of California. The guidelines for the players are governed by the protocols established by their respective governing bodies, the WTA and ATP Tours.”