The 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, frequently referred to as tennis’ “fifth major,” has been rescheduled for October.
Originally slated for March 8-21 in California, the tournament was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
It has been more than two years since the tournament has been held, as the 2020 event was the first tournament on the tennis calendar to be canceled as a result of the pandemic.
“We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to hold the BNP Paribas Open in October and bring professional tennis back to the desert,” tournament director Tommy Haas said in a statement. “We have never wavered in our desire to create an unforgettable experience this fall in Tennis Paradise for our fans, players and sponsors.”
The official dates will be announced following the confirmation of the fall calendar by the ATP and WTA. The ATP currently has seven events slated for October, including a Masters 1000 level event in Shanghai, and the WTA has yet to release most of its calendar after the US Open in September.
“Since the resumption of the tour in August 2020, we have had to take an agile approach to the calendar with the aim of staging as many of our events as possible,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement. “Everyone in our sport has missed the BNP Paribas Open over the past two years and its return this October is great for tennis. The calendar is extremely complex and I would like to thank all events in that section of the season, as we look to accommodate these changes for the benefit of the overall sport.”
Haas said organizers are not looking at having each tour play back-to-back instead of concurrently.
“It’s a combined event, and we’ll always push for that to be the case,” he said on a Zoom call.
The tournament said it will continue to work with the local health departments, as well as the two tours, to ensure proper health protocols are followed. There were no details provided about how many fans will be permitted on site. The tournament typically draws upward of 450,000 fans to Indian Wells, located 110 miles east of Los Angeles.
Dominic Thiem and Bianca Andreescu are the reigning singles champions. The singles champions each receive $1,354,010 from a prize pool of $17 million, which will remain the same, Haas said.
“It’s very important to keep the same prize money to give the players what they deserve,” he said.
The event will go back to its usual spot in March in 2022.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.