‘We sensed it could happen’ – Barcelona Open chief lifts lid on coronavirus cancellation

Dominic Thiem with Barcelona Open trophy

Barcelona Open chiefs ‘sensed’ that they were going to have to cancel the tournament due to the coronavirus crisis, but they remains certain it was the right decision.

The ATP called off six weeks of tournaments in response to the outbreak last week, with the WTA quickly following suit.

Just about every other major sporting event in the world has also been affected by coronavirus health concerns, so it came as little surprise to anyone.

“We sensed that it could happen, all the signs that arrived indicated it,” Jordi Cambra, president of Real Club Tennis Barcelona, said.

“We think that, given the extraordinary situation, the decision made by the ATP is a sensible one, one of responsibility towards the players, the spectators and the tournaments.

“In the end, faced with this unexpected and extraordinary situation, it is the best for everyone.”

The cancellation robbed the Barcelona crowd of a chance to watch Rafael Nadal in action, and Cambra hopes it doesn’t mean they have now seen the last of him.

“It would be ideal [for Nadal to come back],” he told Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.

“The more years, the better. He is an example, an icon, a fantastic reference for youth.

“It is a very special club and a family tournament. That is valued by many players, who are not machines.

“It is very important how they are treated, how they are cared for, the personal relationship of empathy.

“The attractiveness of the tournament goes beyond the economic prizes. It is an involved club from first to last, which makes the tournament very different from others.

“And the tennis players notice it and so they make us see it coming and expressing that they feel very good with us.”

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