Monday, March 9, 2020

BNP Paribas Open Canceled, Status of Easter Bowl at Indian Wells Unknown; 39 Americans Competing in Santo Domingo Grade 2; Kastinseva Moves to No. 1 in ITF Junior Rankings

Late last night word came that the BNP Paribas Open was being canceled after the Riverside County Public Health Department declared a public health emergency in the area after a case of the COVID-19 virus was confirmed. Aside from the huge impact that decision has for Indian Wells and vicinity and the sport in general, it is also of interest to the junior tennis community, with the Easter Bowl scheduled to be held at the same facility, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, beginning on March 28th. Although many other locations throughout the Palm Springs area are used early in the tournament, with 12s, 14s and 16s divisions as well as the ITF Grade B1 making it one of the biggest tournaments on the USTA calendar each year, Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the main site, and all the late rounds are played there.

I reached out to the USTA today to see if the organization has made any determinations about the Easter Bowl or the ITF Grade 1 in Carson the week before, which is held in the Los Angles area, not the Coachella Valley. Here is the response, from the USTA's director of corporate communications, Chris Widmaier:

In light of the heightened concerns and the fast-changing environment surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the USTA is in the process of developing policies relating to all upcoming tournaments and events.  Once finalized, we will communicate these policies to all constituents in a timely and efficient manner.  

The other half of the ATP/WTA Sunshine Double, the Miami Open, said today it will be "moving forward as scheduled." It begins March 23rd.

The International Tennis Federation has not addressed the issue of the virus, at all, although its Grade 1 junior tournament in Casablanca Morocco last week was cut short, with the tournament abandoned after the quarterfinals. According to this tweet, that action was taken due to the virus.

There is very little going on this week in tennis in the United States after the BNP Paribas Open cancellation, but 39 American juniors are competing at the ITF Grade 2 in the Dominican Republic. Twenty US boys are in the 64-player draw, including five seeds: Alex Bernard[3], Aidan Mayo[4], Max McKennon[5], Jack Anthrop[8] and Benjamin Kittay[12].  Rafael Alfonso De Alba Valdes of Mexico is the top boys seed.

Nineteen US girls are competing, including five seeds: Madison Sieg[2], Ellie Coleman[3], India Houghton[6], Sofia Camila Rojas[9] and Hina Inoue[16]. Both Coleman and Inoue lost their first round matches today. Australian Open girls finalist Weronika Baszak of Poland is the top girls seed.

With Diane Parry not defending her points in Casablanca this year, she has relinquished the No. 1 spot in the ITF World Junior rankings, with Australian Open champion Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra moving to the top. The 14-year-old left-hander has not played since winning the title in Melbourne. The boys Top 5 is unchanged this week, with Australian Open boys champion Harold Mayot of France remaining in the top spot.