Tennis has become one of the main events in Madrid in the month of May. For sixteen years now, in this month, as well as the festivities for San Isidro, the patron saint of the city, Madrid has been enjoying the best tennis players in the world as they grace the courts of the Caja Mágica at the Mutua Madrid Open. In addition, this year will see the coincidence of several celebrations that demonstrate how the tournament has established itself internationally and that our city is the epicentre of world tennis for ten days.
The Caja Mágica is celebrating its first decade of existence, time during which it has become an iconic space –no other European tournament can boast three stadiums with a retractable roof- and one that is instantly recognisable on the world tennis tour. It is a facility of which we can be proud but there is a fact that, if possible, makes me even happier: Madrid’s commitment to gender equality is clearly reflected at this Open, and in its commitment to sport in a manner that is completely free from discrimination. This is now the tenth edition of the women’s top-tier tournament and in this city there is no difference in the men’s and women’s purses. They are the same. Madrid practises what it preaches.
But in 2018, along with these two anniversaries, comes a goodbye, that of Manolo Santana as the tournament director. To talk of Spanish tennis is to talk of Manolo Santana. He laid the foundations in a sport that has later brought our country so much joy and triumph. His passion was just as intense when he hung up his racquet. It remained intact, and although in different areas, always ones that are related to the world of tennis. For his effort and determination, Madrid owes him the association of his name with one of the world’s most important tennis events. For 16 editions he has managed to make the Mutua Madrid Open an unmissable stop for the biggest stars of this sport and May a month in which Madrid lives and breathes tennis. Manolo Santana now assumes the role of Honorary President. I have no doubt that he will leave his invaluable mark. And, as if chance were his ally, he will celebrate his 80th birthday mid-tournament. Congratulations Manolo. I do not think there is a better way to commemorate it than on that centre court, which bears your name, surrounded with those who share your vocation.
Madrid is looking forward to this seventeenth edition with the same excitement as the first day, but with many more fans, thanks to this Open. Welcome to tennis, welcome to Madrid.