While the return of professional tennis is more than welcome, it is a cautious one bearing in mind that the Washington event on the ATP Tour was cancelled a few weeks back and there is still uncertainty regarding the US Open.
In view of this situation, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open requested the help of Antonio Zapatero, Deputy Secretary of Public Health, and were advised not to stage the tournament due to the current trend of covid-19 cases Madrid Open organisers statement
Now we learn that the Madrid Masters is on the verge of being cancelled with the final decision being announced today, Tuesday.
The coronavirus pandemic is still causing concerns in both the US and Spain where positive cases are on the rise in various parts of their respective countries.
The rumours concerning Madrid were sparked off by an official statement released by the tournament last Saturday following consultations with the local health authorities.
“In the last meeting, on 29 July, due to the increase in cases of covid-19 in Madrid in recent days, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open stated their concerns about being able to stage the tournament free from health complications that might affect the players, fans and staff,” the statement read.
“In view of this situation, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open requested the help of Antonio Zapatero, Deputy Secretary of Public Health, and were advised not to stage the tournament due to the current trend of covid-19 cases.”
As one of the warm-up events for the French Open, it’s cancellation will be a great blow to the players who are desperate to get back on track with their respective careers. As things currently stand it is due to take place between the 13th and 20th September and then followed by the Rome Masters (Sept. 20-27).
Meanwhile the Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati, is the first official event on the men’s tour in more than five months. It is scheduled for August 22-28 and has been relocated to Flushing Meadows the week prior to the US Open.
Andy Murray has committed himself to playing the US Open and has been awarded a wild card for the Cincinnati event alongside Tommy Paul, Tennys Sandgren and Frances Tiafoe.
While Murray remains apprehensive about traveling to New York, he is keen that the strict biosecurity ‘bubble’ promised by the USTA is strictly adhered to with penalties imposed on any miscreants, if possible.
Other top ranked players are yet to confirm their attendance at the 2020 US Open as their main concerns remain the quarantine restrictions which individual countries are imposing
While Spain does not require mandatory quarantine, Italy would need travellers to quarantine for 14 days if coming from the US but the USTA has said the organisers are working with relevant authorities to resolve these issues.
“My understanding is that it would be sorted before we go to America. But things can change in the next 10 to 12 days,” Murray said at the weekend.
“Hopefully before we leave, the players will have the assurances that, when they come back from America, they won’t have to quarantine for two weeks.
“If that is the case, and if you do well in the US Open, you can’t just arrive on the Sunday before the French Open starts on the Monday. That’s not going to work.”
The safety of players, staff and fans remains a major concern for all involved in the sport and one which Nick Kyrgios has constantly highlighted.
The controversial Australian has announced he will not be competing at the US Open and joins Ashleigh Barty, the women’s world number one, who has already announced she will not be attending this year.
“It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing at one of the sports’ greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium,” Kyrgios said.
“But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans who have lost their lives. For all of you.”
The 25-year-old has been vocal in questioning why tennis is so desperate to return amid the global pandemic and in a veiled reference to Novak Djokovic’s disastrous Adria Tour, the ‘selfish’ actions of his rivals.
“Let us take a breath here and remember what is important, which is health and safety as a community,” Kyrgios wrote.
“We can rebuild our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost.”
Alexander Zverev is still prevaricating while the defending champion Rafa Nadal has been rumoured to be opting out on the basis that he has been practising on clay rather than a hardcourt, and consequently concentrating on defending his French Open title.
Uncertainty still prevails.