The Madrid Masters will be forced into “non-profit” status by default due to COVID-19 costs and reduced crowds.

But it will be players who look set to take one of the biggest financial hits as the Roland Garros clay run-up gets serious.

ATP and WTA champion at the dual-sex event will each walk with EUR 315,000 – a huge reduction of almost 75 per cent from the 2019 payout.

The overall prize reduction of 60 per cent  will bite hardest at the business end of the tournament, affecting mainly those in contention from the quarter-finals onward.

Officials argue that with spectators reduced to just 5,000 per day in a best-case scenario and mounting costs in monitoring those fans for any signs of the virus, health and safety expenses will be huge.

Madrid Masters defending champion Novak Djokovic with finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas

In addition, there is the city curfew to consider in a capital where dinner does not normally begin before 10 p.m.

The 11 p.m.curfew now in effect will mean an unholy 11 a.m. start of the day session, with the night match to begin at 7 p.m. – mid-afternoon in Spanish time.

The men’s field is missing both Roger Federer and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who has recently expressed his frustration with Tour COVID restrictions and the “bubble” life which will also be in effect in Madrid when play begins for women on Thursday and men on Monday.

Home hero Rafael Nadal is shaping up as title favourite, with Monte Carlo champion  and Barcelona finalist against Nadal Stefanos Tsitsipas expected to seriously challenge,


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