COVID-19 spike puts paid to Madrid Open

The Madrid Open, one of the leading tennis tournaments outside the grand slams, has been cancelled for 2020 following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Spain.

Staged at the Caja Mágica complex, the Madrid Open is a ATP Masters 1000 tournament on the men’s tour and Premier Mandatory event on the women’s WTA Tour. Initially scheduled to take place from May 1-10, during the traditional European spring clay court swing, the organisers of the Madrid Open worked with the ATP and WTA to secure a new date on the restructured calendar, which was confirmed as September 12-20.

However, the Comunidad de Madrid advised organisers at the weekend not to stage the tournament due to the inability to guarantee the event’s health security. The Madrid Open had created various protocols in an attempt to guarantee the safety of all those involved in the tournament, receiving approval from the national health organisations for the measures established to prevent and minimise the risks of contagion in the tournament bubble at the Caja Mágica and surrounding hotels.

However, organisers said that following the “strong recommendation” of the local health authorities, and having monitored the situation for months, they were left with no choice but to cancel the tournament.

Following a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Comunidad announced a number of new measures in recent days to control the spread of the virus, including a directive that social gatherings are to be reduced to 10 people, both in public and private spaces, further reducing the feasibility of operating the tournament.

“We have given our all to stage the tournament,” said Feliciano López, director of the Madrid Open. “After the first cancelation in May, we got to work on the September date with the hope of being able to enjoy first-class tennis in the Caja Mágica during this year, which has been so hard for everyone.

“However, the continued instability is still too great to hold a tournament like this in complete safety.”

The next edition of the Madrid Open will take place from April 30 to May 9, 2021. Organisers said any fans that decided to keep their tickets after the postponement in May are guaranteed tickets for the same session and seats next year.

The cancellation of the Madrid Open comes after the ATP was last month forced to cancel its planned restart tournament, the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Tour-level tennis only resumed this week with the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy. Responding to the news concerning the Madrid Open, the ATP and WTA said they are assessing updates to the 2020 provisional calendars in regards to events following the US Open, with an update to be published in due course.

The Caja Mágica has already lost one major event this year after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in June announced that the 2020 Davis Cup and Fed Cup Finals would be postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. This year’s Davis Cup Finals will remain in Madrid, but will now take place in the week commencing November 22, 2021, instead of November 23-29 this year.

Image: Madrid Open