Madrid, Rome Set To Become ‘Mini-Grand Slams’ In New ATP Schedule
The president of the Italian Tennis Federation has confirmed that two Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome will be expanded when the ATP releases their new calendar later this year.
Angelo Binaghi confirmed during an interview with SuperTennis that he has seen the ATP’s proposed plans for their new calendar, which will start from 2019 onwards. Under their proposal, the two European Masters 1000 tournaments will have the size of their main draw expanded to 96 players and will be played over a 10-day period.
“I have seen the report which the ATP is carrying out the 2019 calendar revision project: Rome and Madrid will take place over ten days with 96-player draws.” Said Binaghi.
It is understood that the exact dates of the tournaments are yet to be finalised. In the current calendar Madrid takes place a week before the start of Rome. In a similar format to that of Indian Wells and Miami. According to the chief of Italian tennis, there is a ‘three-week gap’ for the tournaments to fall into without providing any further comment.
The Madrid Open takes place at the Caja Magica and has been played on clay since 2008. Owned by former player, Iron Tiriac, it has been a combined event since 2009. Meanwhile, the Italian Open is steep in history with it first being held in 1930. It is located at the Faro Italico and plans are underway to build a roof over their main court. In recent years rain has caused havoc in Rome.
In recent months other tournaments have reportedly gone into negotiations about upgrading their status. Indian Wells have previously proposed the introduction of a ‘super Masters’ category as well as Shanghai. This would allow an increase in both prize money and ranking points available.
Roger Brennwald, the president of the Swiss Indoors Open, said last November that he has created a plan for a ‘750 series.’ A category that would place his tournament just below the Masters tournaments in terms of superiority on the court. Other rumoured tournaments interested in this concept are Dubai, Rotterdam and Beijing.
The ATP is yet to comment about the launch of their 2019 calendar. According to Binaghi, a formal announcement will be made in November during the ATP Finals in London.