While tennis fans eagerly await news on whether the Miami Open will suffer the same fate as Indian Wells and be cancelled, the Spanish Royal Tennis Federation (RFET) has decided to allow tournaments under their jurisdiction, to be played behind closed doors
In accordance with preventative measures adopted by the Spanish government in view of the situation created by the expansion of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Ministry of Culture and Sports has urged Spanish sports federations to hold all competitions and sporting events behind closed doors, both professional and amateur RFET
They announced this measure to comply with the regulations set up by the Government in their fight to contain the coronavirus in the country and RFET’s measures cover all events, both amateur and professional.
It means that the ATP’s Barcelona 500 due to start April 20 and the Madrid Masters starting on the 4th May, which includes the WTA Premier Mandatory event as well, will go on but without spectators.
A statement from RFET said: “In accordance with preventative measures adopted by the Spanish government in view of the situation created by the expansion of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Ministry of Culture and Sports has urged Spanish sports federations to hold all competitions and sporting events behind closed doors, both professional and amateur.
“In accordance with this, the RFET asks all clubs and organisers that all tennis tournaments planned in the coming dates to be played without the public until further notice, with the aim of prioritising the health and safety of all participants.”
In addition to this, junior tournaments will require parents and coaches to be dispersed among the stands, while the number of people who are able to attend with competitors, will be limited.
Meanwhile the French Open organisers are not considering cancellation or postponement though they are studying different scenarios.
The French authorities have cancelled events in confined spaces involving more than 5,000 people which the French Tennis Federation (FFT) says does not affect Roland Garros which kicks off on the 24th May.
“We are on a 13-hectare site which allows the flow of spectators to be organised very differently from football stadiums,” said FFT director general Jean-Francois Vilotte recently.
Distribution of “gel and mask kits” and “cancellation of tickets for holders from affected areas” are being considered as possible measures which could be taken to “minimize the risk of contagion”.
Vilotte also confirmed that the new Court Philippe Chatrier roof would not make the showpiece arena a “confined space”.
“Even with the roof closed, Court Philippe Chatrier is an outdoor court,” he said.
“It is covered, but there are spaces between the stands and the roof which make it not a confined enclosure.”
Of more concern is the Monte Carlo Masters which marks the start of the European clay court swing on the 12th April. It draws in the main, its spectators from just across the border, namely Italy’s most infected area and with the Italian Government having just put the whole nation under quarantine the event must be considered vulnerable.