The Italian Open faces uncertainty as ominous weather forecasts loom over Rome, jeopardizing the prestigious ATP & WTA 1000 event.
The 2023 Italian Open, also referred to as the Rome Masters, scheduled to take place from May 9th to 21st, now stands on shaky ground due to a daunting weather forecast that predicts relentless rain throughout the week.
The persistent downpour threatens to derail the iconic tournament, which has expanded to a 96-player draw this year, leaving more matches on the schedule than ever before. Starting Wednesday, May 10th, the forecast calls for an 85% chance of rain, making it highly unlikely that any play will occur.
The following day, the outlook remains bleak, with a 60% chance of rain throughout the day. While there may be some breaks in the precipitation, it's crucial to remember that clay tennis courts require significant time to recover from rainfall before they can be used for play.
The situation doesn't improve for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, with each day anticipated to be inundated with rain. This prolonged period of poor weather puts the tournament at serious risk, as it becomes increasingly difficult to accommodate the expanded draw and extended schedule.
While the WTA draw will get underway already on Tuesday, May 9th, men will have to wait until May 10th when the competition starts, as for the first time in 2023, Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will bet in the same ATP draw.
Compounding the issue, Foro Italico, the tournament venue, lacks a court with a roof, a feature that could have alleviated the impact of the inclement weather. Last year, tournament organizers expressed interest in adding a roof to the center court, but the addition has not yet materialized.
Vito Cozzoli, president of Sport e Salute, spoke about the roof over the centre court last year, and it was only then that the bidding process opened, and we're yet to hear about any updates on the roof.
"Another big investment is the roof over the centre court, something that is close to the heart of president Bianghi, but to the one of Sport e Salute even more. This is because the roof would serve the city and its citizens beyond tennis. The bidding process has opened again."
With the adverse weather forecast in Rome, players, organizers, and fans alike face growing uncertainty about the Italian Open's fate. As the skies darken over Rome, the tennis world holds its breath, hoping for a break in the clouds to save this beloved competition.
The 2023 Houston Open faced a similar situation this year when persistent rain delays led to almost no play until Saturday. In an impressive display of endurance, eventual champion Frances Tiafoe won four matches in just two days to claim the title. The Italian Open may require a similar feat of adaptability from its players if the weather continues to interfere with the competition.