Please allow me to open the doors of the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open to you. As you well know, this year it is my responsibility to welcome you to one of the best tournaments in the world as part of a new role that I couldn’t be more excited about. It is time to change my shorts for my suit. I was lucky enough to play in this event for seventeen consecutive years, in other words, every year since it came to the Spanish capital. But now it’s time to leave my racquet to one side and, as director, do everything I can off the court to ensure that you enjoy the best tournament possible. I have always considered this to be my home and so I would like you to find in the Caja Mágica a space where I can guarantee that you will enjoy a passionate session of tennis on every day of competition from 3 to 12 May.
Once again this year, we are lucky enough to welcome the best players in the world in both the ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier Mandatory competitions. Players such as Rafa Nadal, Garbiñe Muguruza, Roger Federer, Petra Kvitova, Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep and many more. They are the stars of the show, contributing each year by bringing the public to the stands of this magnificent venue. Without players with the commitment of Rafa it would be impossible for a tournament of this stature to grow in our city, not only because he is a born winner, but also because of the values he brings to the new generations and the passion he exudes whenever he takes to the court, whether it is to train or to compete.
Therefore, it is an honour that, season after season, the Mutua Madrid Open is a favourite among the players and it makes me proud that the players want to keep coming back every year. My goal is for them to feel as comfortable as possible during the time that they are competing on our excellent clay courts and this tournament continues to be a priority for them and a favourite for the fans, press and sponsors. From my position, I would like to express that I am fully available to help them with anything I can to make their stay in Madrid memorable.
In addition, this will be a special edition of the tournament as Federer will be gracing our courts once more. I was lucky enough to play one of the best matches of my life here against Roger, who has decided to return to the clay this year and has made sure he will not miss the Mutua Madrid Open. Also in 2019, we’ll be giving a well-deserved send-off to legendary player David Ferrer, who wanted to bring his career to an end in front of his home fans. ‘Ferru’ is one of the best players in the history of Spanish tennis, and a person I admire both on and off the court, and he will get the goodbye he deserves with the affection and warmth of his people. Likewise, we’ll see Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez battling it out to break the curse and become the first Spanish woman to win at home. There is more than enough quality to make this happen.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the opportunity I’ve been given to direct one of the tournaments I always dreamt of winning. Now it is time for me to provide, from the offices, all the things I always wished for as a player, taking over from the excellent work that has been done ever since Madrid became the world capital of tennis in 2003. It is undoubtedly an incredible experience for my personal growth and also a responsibility that I assume with great excitement because the Mutua Madrid Open is a highly regarded tournament and a very successful one. My job is nothing more than to conserve the seal of quality that sets our brand apart.
All this is largely thanks to one person, Manolo Santana, now our Honorary President. He is a symbol of and a key man in the history of this tournament, sticking with it through all these years in order to establish it among the tour’s elite. And he has done just that. Manolo is a pioneer of our sport from whom I try to learn every day that I spend by his side. He will forever be associated with the tournament as the Centre Court, where 12,500 spectators watch the champion lift the trophy every year, bears his name.
Finally, as a player, an adopted citizen of Madrid and now also as director I would also like to thank the Madrid City Council and all the sponsors that allow us to host the tournament season after season. It would be impossible without their support. Thanks also to you, the loyal supporter, who never misses a date with tennis at the Mutua Madrid Open. Once again this year, I invite you to enjoy the best tennis in the world. Everything is ready for you to enjoy this year’s tournament. Welcome to your home.