Up to 500 spectators will be permitted at matches played at the main court at Puente Romano tennis club for both ATP events taking place at the venue next month. The court will open on 2 April to coincide with the quarter-finals of the ATP Challenger 80 event that takes place from 29 March to 4 April and it will remain open for the entirety of the ATP 250 AnyTech365 Andalucía Open from 5 to 11 April.
The announcement was made by the tournaments' organisers, who also stated that matches being played at other courts will not feature spectators. The 500 fans at centre court, named after tennis great Manolo Santana, will represent 20 per cent of its total capacity of 2,500.
This will be the first time any fans will attend an ATP event in Europe since the start of the pandemic, as all matches at recent tournaments in Rotterdam, Marseille and Montpellier were played behind closed doors. This was also the case for the Dubai Tennis Championships, although spectators were permitted at events in Doha and Acapulco.
On top of this, both Marbella tournaments will be available to watch on Teledeporte, although the Challenger event will only be broadcast from the quarter-finals onwards. As for the Andalucía Open, three matches will be shown daily from 12pm, with the top encounter taking place after 5pm each day.
The Andalucía Open has already secured a luxury guestlist outrivalling the other ATP 250 event taking place in Sardinia the same week. Even before the three wildcards are announced, big names such as Andrey Rublev, former Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka and home-grown star Alejandro Davidovich have already confirmed their participation. At the Challenger event, the previous two winners Pablo Andújar and Pedro Martínez will both be taking part, as will highly-rated fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Manolo Santana himself will be on hand for the trophy presentations, as will all-time great Björn Borg.
Marbella's mayor Ángeles Muñoz spoke of her excitement ahead of the events, saying: "Marbella lives and breathes tennis. I want to say thank you to Ronnie [Leitgeb, the tournaments' director] for his patience and for believing in us."