Barcelona Open club president: Cancellation ‘best for everyone’

hannahwilks in News 16 Mar 2020
Pista Rafa Nadal during the final of the 2019 Barcelona Open between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas (PA Images)

The president of the club which hosts the Barcelona Open has praised the ‘sensible’ decision of the ATP Tour to cancel the 2020 event.

Jordi Cambra, the president of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, said that it was ‘best for everyone’ for the ATP Tour to have cancelled this year’s tournament.

The Real Club de Tenis Barcelona hosts the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, a 500-level ATP Tour event which is one of the highlights of the European clay-court season.

The 2020 edition was due to begin on 20 April and six of the world’s top-10 players were scheduled to appear, including Rafael Nadal who has won the tournament a record 11 times; reigning champion Dominic Thiem; and Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, both of whom have made the final in recent years.

Nadal with the Barcelona Open trophy in 2019 (PA Images)

But the tournament has fallen victim to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which led the ATP Tour to suspend itself for six weeks. The announcement was made last Thursday, 12 March.

With the BNP Paribas Open, aka the Indian Wells Masters, already cancelled, the ATP Tour suspension meant the cancellation of six events including the Miami Masters, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Barcelona Open.

The ITF followed suit by cancelling all its tournaments for five weeks. The WTA Tour has been reluctant to issue a blanket suspension, but all its scheduled tournaments for the next five weeks have been cancelled.

ATPTour.com shows a slew of cancelled tournaments, including the Barcelona Open

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said at the time:

‘This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However 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.’

Cambra, who serves as the president of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, acknowledged the loss but praised the decision as he spoke to Mundo Deportivo, saying:

‘We sensed that it could happen, all the signs that arrived indicated it.

‘We think that, given the extraordinary situation, the decision made by the ATP is a sensible one, one of responsibility towards the players, the spectators and the tournaments.

‘In the end, faced with this unexpected and extraordinary situation, it is the best for everyone.’

Spain now has almost 8,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with the number of deaths climbing towards 300. On Saturday, the government banned people from leaving home unless they are buying essential supplies of food or medicine, or for work.

Spanish players have been tweeting using the hashtag #quedataencasa, meaning ‘stay at home’.

 

 

Cambra told Mundo Deoortivo that he hopes Nadal, after whom the club’s 8,400-seat centre court is named, will return to the tournament in 2021:

‘It would be ideal [for Nadal to come back]. The more years, the better. He is an example, an icon, a fantastic reference for youth.

‘It is a very special club and a family tournament. That is valued by many players, who are not machines. It is very important how they are treated, how they are cared for, the personal relationship of empathy.

‘The attractiveness of the tournament goes beyond the economic prizes. It is an involved club from first to last, which makes the tournament very different from others.’

The next tournaments not currently affected by the suspension are the BMW Open in Munich, Germany and the Millennium Estoril Open in Portugal, both of which are due to begin on Monday 27 April.