Spanish officials bowed to government health pressure and cancelled the Madrid Masters on Tuesday, throwing the ad hoc runup schedule to Roland Garros next month into chaos.
Tournament bosses finally made the call after a letter last week from Spain’s health minister advising that the Masters 1000 not be held from September 13 as planned.
“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by covid-19, and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstances that the pandemic continues to generate, together with the competent authorities, it has been decided that 2020 Madrid Masters will not take place this year having previously been moved to 12-20 September,” a statement read.
“Following the strong recommendation of the local health authorities, and having monitored the situation for months, the organisers have no choice but to cancel the tournament due to the complex situation that covid-19 continues to generate in every regard.”
The normal spring date of the clay tournament was moved months ago due to the COVID-19 tennis lockdown which will end for the ATP at mid-month.
Final decision on whether to call off the event which already had a commitment from Rafael Nadal was handed over to tournament impresario Ion Tiricac.
“We have given our all to stage the tournament,” TD Feliciano López said.
“After the first cancellation 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.”
Cancellation of the ATP-WTA event throws even more doubt on the Rome Masters, which is due to be played – no fans allowed – at the Foro Italico the week prior to a September 27 start of the delayed French Open in Paris.
Virus cases have been rising again in Spain after a lull in recent months, with health officials worried about any mass gatherings. The overall current state of play in Iberia was characterised as “unfortunately deteriorating day by day.”
The ATP and WTA were quick with prepared statements:
“We share in the disappointment that the Madrid Masters will not be able to take place this year,” ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi said.
“The circumstances concerning COVID-19 are continually evolving and we continue to take guidance from local authorities in our decision-making.”
Added WTA CEO Steve Simon: “We are disappointed the Madrid Masters will not be held this year but we are proud of the dedication set forth by Feliciano and the entire tournament team, who have worked tirelessly to consider and facilitate all possible alternatives in making the tournament happen this year.”
Main photo:-Novak Djokovic won the 2019 title, defeating Tsitsipas 6–3, 6–4.