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Madrid Open cancelled due to coronavirus spike in Spain

hannahwilks in ATP Madrid Masters 04 Aug 2020
Novak Djokovic with the Madrid Open trophy in 2019 (Photo by A. Perez Meca/AlterPhotos/ABACAPRESS.COM)

The Mutua Madrid Open has been officially cancelled.

After Spanish media reported that the Mutua Madrid Open would be officially cancelled on Tuesday, the tournament has now confirmed that it will not take place this year.

The Madrid Open, also known as the Madrid Masters, issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that organizers had ‘no choice but to cancel the tournament due to the complex situation that covid-19 continues to generate in every regard’.

This is another major blow for the tennis calendar which has already been decimated by the global health crisis caused by coronavirus. The Mutua Madrid Open was supposed to take place from 13-20 September, immediately after the US Open.

Just a few weeks ago tournament director Feliciano Lopez was publicly celebrating Rafael Nadal’s commitment to play and expressing his confidence that the tournament would be allowing in spectators.

The Madrid Open, also known as the Madrid Masters, is one of the biggest clay-court tournaments of the season and was originally due to take place in early May.

Because of the global health crisis which led to the ATP and WTA Tours being suspended for the best part of five months from early March, the key events of the European clay-court season were rescheduled to the autumn. The Madrid Open would be played immediately after the US Open, beginning on the day of the men’s final, followed by the Rome Masters and then the French Open from 27 September-11 October. Roland Garros is planning to welcome around 60% of spectator capacity.

But new cases of COVID-19 in Spain have surged in recent weeks, tripling in some regions. Madrid has seen a rapid spike in new infections. Some other European countries have announced travellers from Spain must quarantine.

The Madrid Open released a statement on Saturday 1 August announcing that they had been advised not to hold the tournament by local health authorities.

‘[G]iven the difficult situation caused by covid-19 (with a considerable increase in cases in Madrid and in Spain), the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open are analysing and closely evaluating all the possible options, while always focusing on guaranteeing the safety of all those involved in the tournament,’ the statement read.

The statement said that the final decision on the tournament rested with owner Ion Tiriac.

Marca reported on Monday that world no. 1 Novak Djokovic had already told the players via WhatsApp that the tournament was cancelled.
Multiple Spanish media outlets then reported that the tournament had been cancelled with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.

It was reported last week that the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, which is scheduled to be played in Rome from 20-27 September, had their application to allow spectators denied.

The cancellation of the Madrid Masters could be good news for the US Open. With many players including defending champion Nadal yet to publicly commit to playing the tournament, set to take place behind closed doors in New York from 31 August-11 September, no Madrid could tilt their decision in favour of travelling to the USA.

But with the cancellation of 11 ATP and WTA Tour events in China leaving just a handful of tournaments on the calendar for the remainder of a tennis season already shut down for five months, any tournament being cancelled is more bad news.

Lopez said they had ‘given their all’ to stage the Mutua Madrid Open.

The ATP and WTA released a joint statement saying they were ‘disappointed’ that the tournament had been cancelled, and promising an update to the provisional calendars ‘in due course’.

 

One immediate change that is likely to happen concerns the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, which is currently scheduled to be played during the second week of the US Open. It could now be moved to the week freed up by the cancellation of the Madrid Open.