With the Madrid Open having decided to cancel the rescheduled version of the tournament this season, the Italian Open might take the opportunity to expand the ATP version to a 96-man event.
Currently played as a 64-man draw, the cancellation of the Madrid Open because of the increasing number of coronavirus in Spain has led to the possibility of added days to the existing Italian Open schedule. And with that, it could allow the organisers a chance to get an added 32 men’s singles players in the draw.
So will this plan actually go ahead? There are a few issues.
The biggest hurdle with such a proposal is the safety of the people with respect to the pandemic. Italy was one of the hardest-hit countries by the virus but they have turned things around remarkably, enough to have Rome hosting this event.
However, it still remains to be seen if the government will allow fans inside the stadium and if so, how many.
Because according to the Italian Tennis Federation president Angelo Binaghi, if the next government decree allowed it to open the competition to fans, it might make sense to increase the tournament by three days.
“Otherwise, with only more costs, we won’t be able to sustain it.”
For now, the latest government decree is to not allow fans inside the stadium for the tournament.
The other issue is the quarantining laws for those coming in from USA, with a period of two weeks expected in Italy. With the US Open scheduled before the Italian Open, those wanting to participate in both competitions would have to face an issue, especially if they make it to the second week of the Grand Slam in New York.
Binaghi said the federation has requested the government to waive off that requirement for those playing in the US Open.
This idea seems to have come from the ATP to the Italian Open organisers with an added incentive of covering for the excessive prize money.
The WTA event will continue with 64 players in its singles main draw. Currently, the season has resumed with its first tennis tournament, played on the WTA circuit, the Palermo Open, also being hosted in Italy.