Expanded Madrid Open to be played over two weeks

The combined 2021 Madrid Open will be held over a two-week period for the first time, with the women's main draw beginning on Thursday April 29.

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In 2020 the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the Mutua Madrid Open, Spain’s biggest tennis event and its only Masters 1000 and joint ATP-WTA tournament as well. 

In 2021 Madrid will get an extra week. 

The tournament announced on Friday that it will be held over a two-week period next season, from April 27 to May 9. 

“We’re happy to have achieved the goal of becoming a two-week tournament,” said Feliciano López, tournament director at the Mutua Madrid Open. “We sought this expansion and it is well-deserved, necessary and will allow us to enjoy the best tennis in the world at the Caja Mágica for a few more days. I’m sure that both our sponsors and all the fans will welcome this news with open arms, as well as the city of Madrid, which will receive more visitors for a longer period of time.” 

As part of the ATP’s ambitious plan to revamp the tour and gain a greater share of revenues from its media portfolio, an emphasis will be placed on the ATP’s showcase events, like Madrid, moving forward. 

Under the supervision of CEO Andrea Gaudenzi, the ATP is reportedly planning to roll as many as six ATP-250 level events into the second week of Masters 1000 tournaments

They also hope to increase the stature of the tour’s prized events, the Masters 1000s, by offering category protection, which would allow for stability and increased investment in infrastructure as well as sponsorship augmentation. 

The expanded dates of play in Madrid could cause conflict with the ATP and WTA events scheduled from April 26 to May 2, but much of the 2021 tennis calendar is still in flux. 

“The Mutua Madrid Open is held in incredibly high regard across the tennis community,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This two-week format will allow the Madrid organizers to showcase this world-class event in the beautiful city of Madrid as truly one of the premier events on the WTA Tour and within the sport of tennis.”

Qualifying in Madrid will start on Tuesday April 27 for the women, while the first round of the main draw in the women’s tournament will take place on Thursday 29th. The ATP schedule doesn’t look very different: ATP qualifiers will begin on Saturday May 1, with the first round starting on Sunday 2nd.

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