Rain and a quirky draw has left fans with the opportunity of a lifetime to watch the Big Three of tennis play on the same day at the 2019 Rome Masters. And not just once!
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were all scheduled to feature in their second round matches yesterday in Rome but rain had other ideas.
Persistent rain ensured their matches, along with all others, have been shifted to Thursday but with Friday, Saturday and Sunday reserved for the men’s quarter-finals, semi-finals and final respectively, the organisers have now no option but to play all the third round matches on the same day too.
What that means is that if Djokovic, Nadal and Federer win their respective second round encounters, they will be back in action later in the day for the pre-quarter-final round too.
The world number one Djokovic, who is coming off a brilliant campaign at the Madrid Masters, will be up against Deis Shapovalov in his second round match, Nadal, who has been thrice semi-finalist on clay this season, will take on Jeremy Chardy, while Federer, who wanted more practice on clay before the French Open, faces Joao Sousa in his effort to make the third round.
Interestingly, this comes on the back of the tournament organisers having doubled their ticket prices for Wednesday, once Federer had confirmed he would be playing at Rome.
The Centre court action will begin today with women’s top seed Naomi Osaka taking on Dominika Cibulkova before Federer struts out for his second round match. Djokovic’s match will follow Federer at the Centre court even as Kiki Bertens, Nadal and Petra Kvitova face off in second round action at the Grand Stand.
If they win, the trio will switch courts for their third round matches with Nadal featuring at the Centre court and Federer and Djokovic coming out at Grand Stand.
At Pietrangeli, fifth seeded Dominic Thiem takes on Fernando Verdasco before Simona Halep, the third seed features in her second round action. Fabio Fognini is the other player who will take to this court, third in line after the Thiem and Halep matches.
Rome Masters action on all courts begins at 10 am local time (9 am BST).