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

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.

The Madrid Open, which was rescheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 and features both men’s and women’s events, is an important tournament for the players to prepare for the French Open which now begins on Sept. 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 here

“In the last meeting, on July 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.

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