Lengthy ATP-WTA 1000 events slammed – ‘Casual fans will need to take a MENSA test’

A wet Foro Italico at joint ATP-WTA 1000 tournament

The expanded ATP-WTA 1000 events, including the ongoing Italian Open, have so far not been a big hit with many in the tennis community as the new formats have been described as “disjointed”.

The Sunshine Double – Indian Wells Open and Miami Open – were initially the only two 1000 events played over two weeks, but last year the tennis chiefs decided it was time to expand other joint ATP-WTA tournaments as well.

This year the Madrid Open, Italian Open and Shanghai Masters increased to 96-player draws with the events lasting a fortnight when the qualifiers are included. The Canadian Open and Cincinnati Masters will expand in 2025 and it will leave the Monte Carlo Masters and Paris Masters – the only two Masters tournaments that are just part of the ATP Tour – as the only 1,000 events played over one week.

However, there were a lot of hiccups at the expanded Madrid Open at the beginning of May and Italian Open organisers have had similar issues the past week – and the rainy weather has certainly not helped.

Tennis greaet Novak Djokovic was asked for his opinion on the subject last week and replied: “I’m personally overall not a fan of that because I feel like we already have four Grand Slams a year that take two plus one week eventually if you go all the way with training. You spend 10 to 12 weeks only in Grand Slams.

“Now we’re going to have eight out of nine 1000 events be the same for next year: pretty much a two-week event.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic ‘not a fan’ of changes to ATP Masters 1000 events

And the complaints have continued on social media after journalist Jose Morgado tweeted that Casper Ruud and Holger Rune will have two days off before they play in their semi-final on Saturday, adding “I really dislike this format”.

Former player and Amazon Prime broadcaster Mark Petchey then also voiced his criticism of the format, saying it will be very confusing for the casual fans.

“It’s so disjointed even for the people who follow this sport. Imagine being a casual fan checking in after getting interested via Netflix. They are going to have take a MENSA test on tennis order of plays,” he wrote.

Many fans who replied were also unimpressed while journalist Stuart Fraser commented: “It’s madness dragging these tournaments out. Monte Carlo was the best Masters event this year, all done and dusted in a week. Simple to follow. Fond memories of the short and sharp Madrid-Rome days when you would have the big names in action daily from the Wednesday onwards.”