The epidemic due to the coronavirus, and especially its resurgence in certain countries, continues to upset the calendars of sporting events. The world tennis circuit is therefore struggling to get back on track, with a reduced schedule that is very sad and which even tends to unravel today.
If the women have resumed this week in Palermo (Italy), the men should do it in a few days on the occasion of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati (from August 20 to 28), exceptionally relocated to… New York, before continuing, in the same city, with a Grand Slam tournament, the US Open (from August 31 to September 13) – which has not yet officially confirmed its holding.
In a revamped and shortened season, these hard-surface tournaments were to be followed by competitions on clay, with a series of Madrid (Masters 1000), Rome (Masters 1000) and Roland-Garros. But the first of these meetings will not take place. The organizers of the Madrid tournament, scheduled for September 13 to 20, announced Tuesday, August 4, its cancellation.
“After examining the situation for months, the organizers of the Mutua Madrid Open were forced to cancel the tournament because of the difficult economic situation that the Covid-19 continues to cause at all levels”, they explained in a statement.
The Spanish authorities had strongly invited them there in recent days, due to the upsurge in cases of coronavirus in the city and its region. And from Saturday 1is August, Feliciano Lopez, the tournament director, had already said that it was necessary ” to be realistic “ and “Accept that health always remains the priority”, not to “To put no one in danger, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who would come to Madrid in September”.
The question of quarantine in Italy
With this cancellation of the Madrid tournament, where the Spaniard Rafael Nadal was to align, it is now the Rome tournament (from September 20 to 27) which will be the only preparation ground for “the” meeting of the clay court of the Grand Slam, namely Roland-Garros (from September 27 to October 11).
A question nevertheless arises for players who wish to chain tournaments on hard in the United States and tournaments on clay in Europe: will they be imposed a quarantine like all people arriving in Italy and coming from outside the Union? European Union, or will they be able to benefit from a derogation?
The Briton Andy Murray, who has received an invitation (wild-card) to participate in the Cincinnati tournament, asked, before agreeing to go across the Atlantic, to have assurances that there will be no quarantine measure on return to Europe.
The American Tennis Federation (USTA) and the men’s and women’s circuits (ATP and WTA) had reportedly reached an agreement with the Spanish authorities to avoid such a situation. The USTA has announced that it is working with Italian authorities to relax the rules.