The event is the only Association of Tennis Professionals tournament held in Africa.
Moscow – The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has suspended the annual men’s tennis tournament Grand Prix Hassan II and five other tournaments as a preventive measure to slow down the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
The association had originally scheduled the Grand Prix Hassan II between April 6 and 12at the Royal Tennis Club of Marrakech.
ATP announced on their website on Thursday, March 12, that it was suspending all scheduled men’s tournaments for six weeks. The decision also affects tournaments in Miami, Houston, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Budapest.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide,” ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi commented.
The decision comes at a time when governments worldwide have restricted and cancelled public gatherings and events.
The ATP suspension follows the suspension of several other major sporting events. Competitive leagues such as the NBA, La Liga, the Premier League, and Ligue 1 have also temporarily suspended their matches to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic,” Gaudenzi said.
Morocco’s 2020 Grand Prix Hassan II would have been its 36th.
The tournament is part of the ATP World Tour 250. It relocated to Marrakech in 2016; from 1984 to 2015, it took place in Casablanca.
The tournament is the only ATP event in Africa and annually hosts top-ranked tennis stars.
French tennis player Benoit Paire won the Grand Prix Hassan II in 2019.
The total number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 138,000 worldwide, and the death toll is just over 5,000. Over 80,000 of the confirmed cases were in China, although more than 64,000 of those patients have recovered. Italy has the second-highest number of cases at over 15,000.
Morocco has confirmed seven cases of the novel coronavirus, reporting the first on March 2.