ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi hopeful for four weeks of clay, Roland Garros after US Open

ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi is hoping to salvage as much of the tennis season as possible with two grand slams yet to be played.

FP Sports April 09, 2020 19:00:37 IST
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi hopeful for four weeks of clay, Roland Garros after US Open

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi gave a glimpse into the planning behind the tennis calendar which has been significantly disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak when speaking to Italian journalists on Thursday. All tournaments have been cancelled since second week of March and the lull in activity will continue until at least 13 July. Two grand slams have had to act: Roland Garros has moved into the September slot, much of the French Tennis Federation's accord, and Wimbledon has been cancelled.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi hopeful for four weeks of clay Roland Garros after US Open

File photo of the ATP Finals trophy. AFP

"If we manage to start again in August, we'll save three Slams and six Masters 1000, otherwise the problems will increase tenfold. We are working on the hypothesis of four weeks on clay after the US Open, with Madrid and Rome before Roland Garros," Gaudenzi said in an interview with several Italian media outlets.

The Italian took over in January and has come into the role at a difficult time in the sport. At the start of the year, Australian Open was threatened by bushfires and now with the pandemic.

Roland Garros' unilateral move to take the September-October slot — just a week after US Open is scheduled to conclude, came as a surprise to many including the men's and women's tours. "Tennis needs unity, Paris acted out of fear, making a mistake. But they have recognised this."

A big piece in the scheduling jigsaw is the US Open. If the hard court grand slam were to be cancelled or rescheduled, 'difficulties would increase' he acknowledged. "I am confident that the season in America can begin with the August Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati and then the US Open. In this way, three Slams and six Masters 1000 would be played (there are also Shanghai and Bercy) and the season would be 70 percent safe. Of course, if the whole American slot were to skip, the difficulties would increase tenfold."

Gaudenzi said the ATP were working alongside WTA Tour, the grand slams and player council members including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in keeping everyone in the loop on plans and changes.

ATP's flagship event, the ATP Finals, scheduled for London from 15-22 November is expected to go on. Given the multi-sport nature of the O2 Arena, he stressed it would be difficult to find another week's spot in the calendar that worked out for all stakeholders.

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