Organisers told not to hold Madrid Open amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Organisers told not to hold Madrid Open amid surge in COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: Petra Kvitova of of the Czech Republic returns a ball to Simona Halep of Romania during
FILE PHOTO: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic returns a ball to Simona Halep of Romania during their women's singles semi-final match at the Madrid Open tennis tournament May 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Andrea Comas)

MADRID: Madrid Open organisers have been advised by local health authorities not to stage the tournament next month due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Spanish capital and are evaluating their options, they said on Saturday (Aug 1).

The Madrid Open was rescheduled to take place from Sep 12-20 and feature both men's and women's events.

It is an important tournament for the players to prepare for the French Open which now begins on Sep 27.

"The organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open have been in close communication with the competent health organisations in the Community of Madrid and with the National Sports Council," the organisers said in a statement.

"In the last meeting, on Jul 29, due to the increase in cases... in Madrid in recent days, the organisers stated their concerns about being able to stage the tournament free from health complications that might affect players, fans and staff.

"In view of this situation, the organisers 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."

The organisers added that they were keen to make a decision in good time as it was "impossible to guarantee a positive change in this situation in the coming weeks."

Spain has recorded more than 306,370 cases of the novel coronavirus.

"In light of the advice... the organisers... are analysing and closely evaluating all the possible options, while always focusing on guaranteeing the safety of all those involved," they added.

"The final decision... will fall to Ion Tiriac and Super Slam Ltd., the tournament's licence holder."

The professional tennis season is scheduled to restart after a five-month shutdown due to the pandemic with the WTA's Palermo Ladies Open in the Sicilian capital on Monday.

Source: Reuters/kv

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