World No 1 Novak Djokovic believes that the tennis schedule will have to be suspended following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decision to declare the coronavirus a pandemic.
More than 4,600 people worldwide have already died after being infected by COVID19 while the total number of cases is more than 120,000.
The WHO on Wednesday classified the outbreak as a pandemic and countries like Italy and Denmark are in lockdown while the United States announced a travel ban for most European countries.
Reports on Thursday suggested that the Miami Open, due to start on March 23, will be cancelled while the ATP and WTA Tours are set to be suspended, but there is still no official word from the Tours.
However, 17-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic insists there is no way that they can continue to play.
“I agree with most players [that the Tour should be suspended], although I understand why some players think the Tour should continue,” he told Republika.
He added that “Miami can no longer wait for the final decision” adding that “I’m pretty sure they’ll have to cancel the tournament today, tomorrow at the latest”.
This week’s Indian Wells Masters was the first tournament to fall victim to COVID19, putting tennis players in limbo.
Although Djokovic is still in the United States, he is set to return to Serbia in the next 24 hours.
“I’m in Los Angeles right now, but I’ll take the flight tonight or tomorrow at the latest,” he said.
“I honestly do not know what can happen under these new circumstances and I do not know if we can play Miami or any other tournament until the WHO removes the status of the pandemic.”
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