The men's ATP Tour and women's WTA Tour have jointly announced a number of precautionary health measures that will be implemented on-site at upcoming events including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open presented by Itaú and WTA’s Volvo Car Open in Charleston to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus.
In a joint statement issued, the ATP & WTA Tours said, “The health and safety of our players, fans, staff and tournament personnel is paramount and, as the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, these are common sense precautions for us to take.
We continue to monitor this closely on a daily basis, working with our players and tournaments, as well as public health authorities as the situation evolves globally”. The tours have laid down the following measures based on medical advice from health experts to ensure the health and safety of players, staff, fans and others involved in the tournaments and tours - - Players and mascots will not hold hands when walking out on court
- Ball kids will be provided with gloves to wear on court
- Ball kids will not handle player towels during matches
- Ball kids will not handle player drinks during matches
- Players will be instructed to not distribute used towels, headbands, shirts, sweatbands, etc.
to fans following matches or practice
- Players will not accept pens, tennis balls or other items to hold for autograph signing The measures will be put in place for all WTA events and ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events through the 2020 spring season and may be extended based on a further review.
Indian Wells tournament organizers had earlier announced their own set of measures for the event - including gloves for ball kids, food workers and volunteers taking tickets. More than 250 hand-sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the facility and common areas will be cleaned daily with an anti-viral application.
The tournament also said that it would offer refunds or credit to fans who purchased tickets but don't want to attend. As per latest figures, nearly 150,000 people in 95 countries had been infected with the virus, resulting in the deaths of more than 3,500 people.