Ion Tiriac, the owner of the Mutua Madrid Open, one of the top 10 tournaments in the world and among the most prestigious in Europe, met with the mayor of Berlin, Michael Muller, last Tuesday to discuss the movement of the “Caja Magica” in the German capital, as reported by Romanian media ProSport.
If the rumors prove to be true, it would be a shocking blow applied to the Spanish tennis world, which has enjoyed the presence of this Premier Mandatory tournament since 2002. Per ProSport, the billionaire owner of the Madrid Open met with Michael Muller in the city hall of Berlin which was set up by Emil Hurezeanu, the Romanian ambassador in Germany.
The topic of their discussion was reported as being a possible “migration” of the “Caja Magica” from the capital of Spain to Berlin. Last year, the highly-regarded Spanish tournament offered over 14 million euros prizes last year in both male and female competitions cumulated, while this year’s edition was unfortunately canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tiriac’s contract with Madrid to expire next year
Citing ProSport, Ion Tiriac’s contract with Madrid’s officialities is set to expire in 2021, so this looks like the perfect opportunity for the billionaire to go for the highest bidder.
So, if the Germans will make a more advantageous offer, we could see the 18 years old Mutua Madrid Open being moved from its home.
Madrid tried to buy the tournament two years ago
The Romanian billionaire's agents met the Madrid Municipality in 2018 in an attempt of the capital’s officialities to buy the tournament.
“Why not to do it? If it's a reasonable price, we will buy it,” said Luis Cueto, general coordinator of the Madrid Mayor, as quoted by El Espanol.
At that time, Tiriac set the price for the tournament at €250 million, and considering the steep price he asks Madrid to hold the tournament there (€10 million per year), buying the tournament could have looked like a pretty good deal for the municipality.
However, no hands were shaken, but there were rumors of Tiriac wanting to move the tournament to Germany as well, more specifically to Berlin or Munich. It looks like he now tests the waters in the capital of Germany. It remains to be seen if he's really going to change a tournament with 18 years of Spanish tradition.