The Madrid Open may become the latest ATP event to be cancelled following reports of an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
The clay court event was due to start in the Spanish capital on September 12th, but it is now in jeopardy with health officials in the country advising that it should be cancelled because of the deteriorating health situation there, amidst evidence of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spain was amongst the countries in Europe most affected by the first wave of the virus, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases, and close to 300,000 fatalities. The country endured a long and sustained lockdown, and, although restrictions had eased, a number of them have had to be re-imposed because of a new rise in the number of infections.
Already countries like Germany and the UK have advised holidaymakers there to return home.
Now organisers of the tournament are worried about the risks to players, support staff and fans if the tournament is to proceed as planned,
World number two Rafael Nadal is amongst the players who have already signalled their intent to play the event, which is regarded as a warm-up for the rescheduled French Open which is scheduled to start in Paris on 27th September.
The French Tennis Association (FTA) are hoping to have the stands at Roland Garros filled up to 60%, but there must now be question marks over that.
The UK has decided to put in hold, until August 15th at least, their own trials allowing a limited number of fans back into grounds, and given the highly transmissible nature of the disease, and a rise in the number of cases in a number of countries on France’s borders Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany and Spain, it does not require a big stretch of the imagination to envisage the problem spreading to France.
Organisers of the Madrid Open are expected to make a final decision in the next few days.