September's Mutua Madrid Open officially canceled due to COVID-19 rise

September's Mutua Madrid Open officially canceled due to COVID-19 rise

A spike in coronavirus cases has derailed the tournament's plans.

UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, the Mutua Madrid Open announced in a statement that the tournament is officially canceled.

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, together with the competent authorities, it has been decided that 2020 Mutua Madrid Open will not take place this year having previously been moved to 12-20 September, the statement begins.

Tournament director Feliciano Lopez helped stage a virtual, video-game Mutua Madrid Open earlier this year, and held out hope that the real thing could be held as a lead-in to Roland Garros, which along with the Internazionali BNL d'Italia is still on the ATP and WTA schedule.

After Monday's widespread belief that the event was all but nixed (see below for yesterday's discussion on social media), the unfortunate reality hit today.

“We have given our all to stage the tournament”, said Lopez. “After the first cancelation in May, we got to work on the September date with the hope of being able to enjoy first-class tennis in the Caja Mágica 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. Once again, we would like to thank the Madrid City Council and all of our sponsors and suppliers for being by our side during every step we have taken.”

The ATP and WTA issued a joint statement on the decision, applauding the efforts of tournament organizers and stating that an updated schedule would be forthcoming. Both Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, and Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, looked forward to the clay-court tournament's return in 2021.

Various reports, including those from Spanish media, indicate that the Mutua Madrid Open, scheduled to begin directly after the US Open on September 13, will be canceled due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

There have been rumors about the tournament's viability over the past week, and on Saturday, the tournament released an official statement on the matter. Event organizers consulted with local health officials given "the situation, which is unfortunately deteriorating day by day."

"In the last meeting, on 29 July, due to the increase in cases of covid-19 in Madrid in recent days, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open stated their concerns about being able to stage the tournament free from health complications that might affect the players, fans and staff," the statement read. "In view of this situation, the organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open 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."

On Monday, word began to circulate that the tournament was all but officially canceled, with a formal announcement expected on Tuesday.

In addition to media reports, the ATP's Lukas Lacko "heard that Madrid was cancelled," and Donna Vekic reacted to the news during her post-match press conference in Palermo, furthering the likelihood of a definitive cancelation: