Tennis Faces Potential Format Changes with Expansion of Grand Slam Influence

Tennis could modify its format for the future (AFP)

The world of tennis could be facing one of the most momentous changes in its recent history. As revealed by the specialized media Tennis Channel, the Grand Slam tournaments are seeking to expand their influence by trying to take charge of the Masters 1,000, displacing the Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP) from its current role, although it would maintain the management of the ATP 250, ATP 500 tournaments and the ATP Finals.

Currently, the ATP oversees the nine Masters 1,000 events, in addition to the minor tournaments and the annual ATP Finals, which will take place in Turin until 2027. In parallel, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) occupies its administrative space with competitions such as the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup (former Federation Cup) while the Grand Slams (Australia, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open) operate independently.

The acquisition of the Masters 1,000 by the Grand Slams promises to be the biggest reorganization in the circuit in years, with the aim of unifying the criteria of the tournaments. Among the announced advantages are a more equitable distribution of prizes and the elimination of the weekly rotation of balls that currently occurs, in addition to longer rest periods for tennis players, which represents a significant step in attention to the well-being of the players. , after several formal complaints from them on that issue.

The Masters 1000 could become organized by the Grand Slam (Reuters)

This strategic move, in turn, would also include the creation of a tenth Masters 1,000 in Saudi Arabia, which would be placed chronologically before the Australian Open. This decision is not without controversy due to the political implications and debates surrounding sporting events in the country.

The promoters of this innovative plan, compared by The Athletic to a “tennis version of Formula One”, hope to conclude negotiations and present final details when the season starts in Melbourne in January. “The move comes as the most powerful entities in the sport, the executives and the best players, have come to accept that tennis in its current form does not work as well as it should,” highlighted the British media.

The motivation behind this expansion is also fueled by the fear of a potential division in the sport as happened with golf with the appearance of the LIV tour, an alternative circuit to the one offered by the PGA (Professional Golfers Association) that attracted great figures. through substantially higher monetary prizes. Integrating Saudi Arabia into the official tennis calendar, in this context, is seen as a preventive step to avoid the flight of talent towards possible parallel competitions.

This would also ensure the survival of the Madrid and Miami tournaments, which were involved in rumors that Arabia could try to take over their licenses.

One of the great benefits of this possible union would be the increase in profits from television rights, since they would all be negotiated together and not each organization separately, as has occurred to date.

The 9 Masters 1000 distributed in the current calendar are:

Indian Wells Masters: United States March 8 – March 19

Miami Masters: United States March 22 – April 2

Monte Carlo Masters: Monaco April 9 – April 16

Madrid Masters: Spain April 26 – May 7

Rome Masters: Italy May 10 – May 21

Canada Masters: Canada August 7th – August 13th

Cincinnati Masters: United States August 13 – August 20

Shanghai Masters: China October 4 – October 15

Paris Masters: France October 30 – November 5

2023-11-29 18:40:00
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