Since moving to the Caja Mágica in 2009, the Mutua Madrid Open has tried to set an example by promoting equality in sport. Its mission is clear: to offer a first-class product and transmit a message in keeping with the tournament’s stature. Now one of the biggest competitive events in Spain and a key date in a sport as global as tennis, the responsibility on its shoulders is not exactly small.
Madrid is lucky enough to host the best tennis players in the world every season. The ATP and WTA tours have been joining forces in the Spanish capital for more than 10 years now and everyone has contributed to its history, making the tournament one of the world’s leading combined events and providing more than a decade of excitement, respect and gratitude for the sport. Women and men compete under equal conditions on the Madrid clay, and that has been one of the main hallmarks of the spirit of the tournament from day one.
With total commitment to gender parity, year after year, Madrid gives identical cash prizes from the last sixteen through to the decider. This stance has been consolidated through the equal promotion of all participants, who have in the Caja Mágica a tournament they can call home. The athletes are valued for their daily hard work, their dedication to competition and for dedicating a life to sport. All under equal conditions.
In the 2019 competition, maintaining the purse equality of previous editions, the men’s and women’s champions will take home cheques of the value of $1,202,520, a reward for the daily grind required to reach the peak of professional sport, and that hard work is gender blind. From the preparation of the orders of play through to the treatment of each player, Madrid is committed to competition without distinctions.
Of course, these circumstances have repercussions for the fans too. Every 12 months the Manolo Santana Stadium witnesses an unparalleled cauldron of fierce competition. It is a legacy for the dreams of the youngest fans, impetus for anyone who plays the sport and an unforgettable memory for the whole of the Spanish capital. Also, and perhaps most importantly of all, it is a demonstration of equality in the workplace.
The gift the Mutua Madrid Open offers to lovers of the sport is cannot be overestimated. The best tennis players in the world from both tours gather at the same venue very few times throughout the season. Only the Grand Slams, the game’s most historical tournaments, and a handful of big events (Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Cincinnati and Beijing) offer the chance to enjoy all of the big ATP and WTA stars up close, something that should not be overlooked.
Complete commitment to women’s sport, which the tournament is not duty bound to have, has always been in the spirit of the Caja Mágica. It is an unnegotiable asset that is a fundamental part of the event and runs through the promotion of all of its stars, the competitive standard of its athletes and the interest of a tour that is as competitive as it is globalised. It is one of the tournament’s biggest muscles and flexing it is a key aspect for its success season after season.
The 2019 edition will, once again, be a perfect example of all this. And, as always, we will all greatly enjoy it.
By Álvaro Rama