At an emotional event held in the AC Cuzco Hotel’s Gran Forum room, the Mutua Madrid Open announced some news that will affect the future of the tournament, the seventeenth edition of which takes place in May. Accompanied by Mr Ignacio Garralda, President of Mutua Madrileña, and Gerard Tsobanian, tournament CEO, Manolo Santana and Feliciano López have shared moments that now form part of the history of the Mutua Madrid Open.
After showing a symbolic video recorded on the courts of the Caja Mágica, the tournament CEO, Gerard Tsobanian, announced that Feliciano López has joined the tournament organisation as the new Assistant Director. Manolo Santana, a tennis pioneer and one of the people responsible for bringing an ATP Masters 1000 and a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament to Madrid, also announced that after next year’s competition (during which he will celebrate his 80th birthday on 10 May) he will maintain his ties to the tournament but with different responsibilities.
For this reason, after the tournament, which will take place from 4 to 13 May 2018, and once the ATP and WTA have given their approval at the upcoming meetings of its board of directors, Feliciano López will become the new Director of the Mutua Madrid Open and Manolo Santana will be appointed the Honorary President of the tournament.
Both Gerard Tsobanian and Santana himself have pointed out that, after May 2018, Manolo will remain closely linked to the tournament and play a significant role in the decision making process. The new appointment of Manolo Santana as Honorary President will take place in a ceremony that will be held in the Caja Mágica during the tournament itself in May 2018. “The Mutua Madrid Open is and always will be my home. We put a lot of effort into getting this tournament off the ground and I will always be working to help it grow”, stated Manolo. “I am really happy that Feli is joining the team, he is a wonderful addition to it and I will try to teach him as much as I can. He knows the tournament very well because he has played in it in every year. At first he will be the person by my side to learn and then I will be the one who is by his side to support him in everything he does. We will make a great team”, continued Santana.
Born in Toledo in September 1981, Feliciano López is very excited about this new phase of his career. “I cannot describe how excited I was to receive the call from Manolo and Gerard. I can still remember when Manolo gave me a wildcard to play in the first tournament in 2002. That was when I realised that I could take on the best in the world (and I came close to beating Agassi!). I have a very special bond with the Mutua Madrid Open and I feel very lucky to work at the tournament. Today I feel as if Manolo has given me another wildcard to work with him and I hope to be able to make the most of it”.
This year, the winner of 6 ATP tournaments, French Open doubles winner and member of the team that won the Davis Cup 4 times will combine his role as Assistant Director of the Mutua Madrid Open with his tennis career on the ATP tour. In fact, Feliciano is currently second to only Roger Federer in consecutive participations in Grand Slam tournaments and this season he could overtake the Swiss player if he competes at the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.
In the coming months Feliciano López will work closely with Manolo Santana and Gerard Tsobanian to train and learn about the directive and organisational tasks at the event. “I have a lot to learn from Manolo and from Gerard. I have seen them run this tournament for more than 15 years and I have always admired what they have achieved. As time has gone by the Mutua Madrid Open has become one of the best tournaments on tour and one of the most valued by the players. And that is thanks to both of them. It will be a huge responsibility to make sure that their legacy continues for many years to come”, continued Feliciano.
Under the claim “Madrid, the Capital of Tennis”, the Mutua Madrid Open is already making preparations for its seventeenth edition, which will take place from 4 to 13 May 2018 and which will also commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Caja Mágica. In order to continue reaching all members of the public, the tournament has started advanced ticket sales maintaining the same pricing policy, starting at 7 euros.