INDIAN WELLS: The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California that was scheduled to be held in March will now take place in October, the ATP said on Thursday. The dual ATP-WTA hardcourt event was planned for March 8-21 but was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, the second consecutive year the tournament was impacted. Popularly known as the “fifth major” after the four Grand Slams, the 2020 Masters 1000 tournament was the first major professional sporting event in the United States to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic. “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. “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.” The tournament could affect the Asian swing with events scheduled in Beijing, Tokyo and Shanghai in October. Dominic Thiem and Bianca Andreescu are the defending champions at Indian Wells.