South America Faces The Loss Of Its Clay Swing As ATP Conducts Review - UBITENNIS
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South America Faces The Loss Of Its Clay Swing As ATP Conducts Review




The ATP has confirmed to Ubitennis that they are conducting an internal review of their tournament calendar as South American tournaments seems destined to move from the clay to hard-courts.


Speculation over the future of the South American events mounted earlier this year. Rio Open tournament director Luiz Carvalho told the Press Association in February that he is contemplating a change in surface. The driving force behind the move is supported by the newly built Olympic Tennis Centre, which hosted the tennis tournament at Rio 2016. Since the Olympics, the venue has suffered a similar fate to others of slowly falling into decay.

”We trust a hard-court event would fit better because of the current situation of the tour,” Carvalho said. ”The next generation is hard-court focused.”

World No.16 Nick Kyrgios has already voiced his support for the move. During a question and answer session on Twitter earlier in the week, the Australian said he would play at the Rio Open if it changed surface.


The Latin American clay swing takes place during February, between the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. A total of four clay events in three countries takes place (two in Brazil, one in Argentina and one in Ecuador). There is yet to be any decision about the future of those events. The ATP has confirmed to Ubitennis that they are reviewing the issue without elaborating further.

“The ATP is currently undergoing an internal review of its calendar and tournament structure, with a view to ensuring continued growth and establishing a long-term vision for the Tour for 2019 and beyond.” Simon Higson, the vice-president of PR and communication, told
“This structural review process, which incorporates input from all our tournament members, is not expected to conclude until the end of 2017. As such, and while we are aware of the speculation in the media related to tournaments in South America, it would be premature to comment any further at this stage.”

A hot topic in Miami

South America’s clay-court dilemma is one that has become a talking point at this week’s Miami Masters. World No.20 Alexander Zverev is the latest player to weigh in on the topic. Shortly after his fourth round win over Stan Wawrinka, the 19-year-old said it is the surface and not the location keeping players away from South America.

“The only reason why maybe not a lot of top guys are going there is because schedule-wise it maybe doesn’t make too much sense playing on clay for a lot of guys between Australian Open and Indian Wells and Miami, because those are the big tournaments.” He said.
“So maybe some of them prefer to stay in Europe and play hard courts there. I think that’s the main reason why a lot of players decide not to go to South America.”

Zverev’s perspective is supported by this year’s blockbuster Acapulco Open in Mexico. The tournament switched from the clay to hard In 2014. Last month their field featured five top-10 players, a record for the tournament.

2017 winners on South American clay
Ecuador (ATP 250) – Victor Estrella Burgos
Buenos Aires (ATP 250) – Alexandr Dolgopolov
Rio (ATP 500) Dominic Thiem
Sao Paulo (ATP 250) – Pablo Cuevas

Roger Federer, a player who has won 62 titles on a hard-court, is more open minded regarding to any future change. The 35-year-old has never played a South American clay-court event in his entire career.

“Surface change is always tricky, you know. We saw it with Stuttgart. They took a chance and I think it pays off. Maybe others have made a surface change and it didn’t work out so well.” Federer explained.
“I think it’s important to have an open mindset moving forward. Sure, I think now that the brave new world is coming to an end, what is it, next year, we’ll see what comes after 2018 and the next ten years.”

One fierce defender of the move is the ‘king of clay’ Rafael Nadal. Throughout his career the Spaniard has won 49 clay-court titles, sharing the all-time record with Guillermo Vilas. At the French Open, the pinnacle of clay tournaments, Nadal has won the title a record nine times.

“If there is 80% of the tournaments on hard, is normal that the best players of the world are hard court specialists, Not clay court specialists. So if we still are putting more tournaments on hard, then no one top player will be a specialist on clay.” Nadal argues.
“These tournaments for sure will never have a top player because the top players are always playing on hard.”

There is yet to be any action taken regarding the future of the clay tournaments in South America. It is understood that some are already in negotiations with the ATP.

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.




The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 


The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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Fate Of Madrid Open To Be Decided This Week

Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament looks to be in serious danger of getting the axe following recent developments.




There will be a final decision regarding this year’s Madrid’s Open within the next couple of days but hopes of the tournament going ahead are low, according to its tournament director.


Feliciano Lopez has spoken out about the current situation in an interview with the L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday. The mixed tournament has been thrown into doubt after the local council said it would be “inadvisable” for the tournament to be played in September because of the “health risks involved for the public, organization, and players.” Spain is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases amid concerns of a second wave. On Friday there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

“We were confident two months ago that the tournament would take place. The situation has worsened in the last two or three weeks in the Madrid region, not just in the city of Madrid, but in the whole region,” Lopez told L’Equipe.
“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September.”

A decision is set to be made within “two or three days” by tournament owner Ion Tiriac and Super Slam Ltd, the tournament’s licence holder. Tiriac is a Romanian billionaire businessman who is also a former tennis player. He won the 1970 French Open doubles title with compatriot Ilie Nastase.

Weighing up its chances, Lopez admits that he ‘isn’t optimistic’ that the Madrid Open will be able to go ahead. The event is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

We are not very optimistic now. We were very positive a few weeks ago. We have a very good protocol, everything is ready, we worked hard to make the event take place, because it is also very important to offer tournaments to the players today.” Said Lopez.
“Last week, we had meetings with the government. Their recommendation is to cancel all events now during the summer. Of course, the decision is ours, it will be Ion’s. We have to work with everyone, the government, the ATP, the WTA and make the best decision for everyone. But we must also listen to the recommendations of the authorities, see how the situation is developing this week.”
He added.

Held on clay at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open has been a combined event for the men and women since 2009. Last year Novak Djokovic and Kiki Bertens won the singles titles with them each taking home €1,202,520 in prize money.

Besides having the responsibility of the Madrid Open, world No.56 Lopez is continuing his career on the Tour at the age of 38. Questioned about the remaining 2020 season, the Spaniard admits there is a lot of uncertainty for all players. Tournament across Asia have already been cancelled due to the virus and recently the Italian Open was told at present they can’t allow fans to their tournament, which takes place the week after Madrid’s slot.

This season is already completely lost. But what will happen next year, when we still don’t have a vaccine? The situation will be exactly the same as now if we don’t have a vaccine! When is it going to end, I don’t know.” Lopez concluded.

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‘Think Of Others For Once’ – Nick Kyrgios Issues Warning To Rivals As He Withdraws From US Open

The world No.40 has once again took a swipe at Novak Djokovic’s ‘money-grabbing’ Adria Tour.




Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said he is pulling out of the US Open in respect of those in his home country as well as America who has lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The former top-20 player published a video outlining his reason for withdrawing from the event on the social media accounts of athlete empowerment brand Uninterrupted. During the video he once again made a swipe at Novak Djokovic and others over their ‘selfish’ involvement in the controversy-stricken Adria Tour. Which was criticised for a lack of anti-COVID measures before an outbreak of the virus among players and coaching staff occurred. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Vikor Troicki all got infected.

“You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck, hosting an exhibition. That’s just so selfish. Think of the other people for once. That’s what this virus is about,” he said.
“It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly.”

Kyrgios has stated that he isn’t critical of the decision made by the United States Tennis Association to hold the event this year. Which will have on offer 90% of the prize money that was available during the 2019 tournament. Under strict measures, the tournament will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history with players kept in what is being described as a ‘protective bubble.’

“I have got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open and if players want to go, that’s up to them, so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely,” he stated.
“No-one wants people to keep their jobs more than me.’
“I am speaking for the guy who works in the restaurants, the cleaners and the locker room attendants. These are the people who need their jobs back the most and fair play to them.”

The announcement comes shortly after women’s world No.1 Ash Barty announced that she wouldn’t be playing due to coronavirus concerns. Another Australian player, Alexi Popryin, have previously said he would not attend the event. Furthermore, Chinese world No.29 Wang Qiang has pulled out due to ‘travel and safety concerns.’

“To those players who have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk, and I have no problem with that,” said Kyrgios.

The withdrawal ends Kyrgios’ streak of seven consecutive main draw appearance at Flushing Meadows. His best rest was reaching the third round on four separate occasions (2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019). Overall he has won eight out of 15 matches played in New York.

This year’s US Open will get underway on August 31st.

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