The Marbella Tennis Open returns this weekend with a whole host of health and safety measures in effect to protect both participants and spectators.
In collaboration with main sponsor AnyTech365, the Costa del Sol will once again play host to a quality tournament, an ATP 80 Challenger, that will be played from this Saturday until Sunday 1 November at the Puente Romano Tennis Club in Marbella.
Last year Pablo Andújar won a great final against the current world number 27, Benoît Paire. This year, however, will be a lot different. For a start, the whole tournament will be streamed live on the AnyTech365 and Marca websites (the later rounds on Eurosport and LaLigaSportsTV), with spectators not allowed to enter the venue during the early stages.
From the round of sixteen, from Thursday 29th until the final, a limited number of spectators will be able to attend with tickets available for purchase exclusively online, from www.entradium.com.
Players and staff will all be accommodated in the Puente Romano hotel with all the facilities at their disposal, so that leaving the premises won't be necessary. However, the players will be allowed in the shared facilities as little as possible and not allowed to have contact with any person outside their 'bubble'.
Both players and staff will undergo PCR testing before and during the tournament. There will also be a reduced number of scorekeepers and line judges.
"In March we were more than ready to start the tournament but due to the corona pandemic it was cancelled," said the tournament director and CEO of Champ Events España, Ronnie Leitgeb, at the press conference to present tournament last week. "Now I am very happy that we are one of the few [tournaments] that are still able to go ahead. We have this great environment at Puente Romero where the players can stay in the hotel right next door to the tennis club and that helps a lot."
The press conference was also attended by the President of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation, Miguel Díaz; the Sports councillor for Marbella, Manuel Cardeña; the founder and CEO of AnyTech365, Janus R. Nielsen; the accommodation director of the Puente Romano Hotel, Javier Saavedra; the representative of Helicópteros Sanitarios, Javier Navarro and tenor Rodrigo Orrego.
Among the participants will be several players in the top 100 of the world rankings: the Italian Gianluca Mager (96th), Argentinian Federico Coria (86th) and Spaniards Roberto Carballés (99th) and Pedro Martínez (92nd).
The presence of Carlos Alcaraz, from Murcia, who at 17 years of age is already knocking on the door of the top 150, is bound to attract the most attention of fans of Spanish tennis, with many people singling him out as one of the country's great hopes for the future.
The most notable absentee, however, will be local boy Alejandro Davidovich who has other commitments but was expected to feature when the event was originally scheduled to take place between 30 March and 5 April.