MADRID • The Madrid Open, one of the premier tournaments of the clay-court swing, yesterday fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic, the latest in a string of high-profile tennis events to be cancelled.
The joint ATP and WTA event was initially due to take place from May 1-10, but was pushed back to Sept 14-20 because of the Covid-19 crisis. But with Spain experiencing a second wave of infections, particularly in Madrid, organisers decided to call off the tournament altogether.
A statement read: "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... it has been decided that 2020 Madrid Open will not take place this year."
World No. 56 and tournament director Feliciano Lopez 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 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."
Organisers added that next year's edition will take place from April 30 to May 9.
While preparations for the French Open, which starts on Sept 27, will now undoubtedly be affected with the axing of the Madrid Open, the US Open is set to be the beneficiary.
It was initially widely reported a number of players had been sitting on the fence due to the hard-court Grand Slam coinciding so closely with the start of the clay-court swing. But with a week's gap between the end of the US Open on Sept 13 and the start of the Rome Masters, which is scheduled for Sept 20-27, this is likely to mean more European players may feature at Flushing Meadows.
According to a tweet by New York Times' tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey, defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal and world No. 2 Simona Halep have decided to remain on the Slam's entry list, with any withdrawal to happen much closer to the tournament.
Wimbledon, the WTA Finals and the Shanghai Masters have all been cancelled because of the pandemic.