The scheduling of tennis tournaments seems to be an impossible thing to handle recently for organizers as we saw at the 2023 Italian Open.
When players come to ATP & WTA events, they usually don't have many requests. They want a nice place to sleep in, good transportation, and a gym so they can train. One of the things players also like to have is a schedule that doesn't make their life more difficult.
But sometimes, the tournament organizers fail to do just that. Only recently at the Australian Open, we saw Andy Murray play until 4 AM. It didn't take long before Iga Swiatek had a late-night finish in Madrid, and Alexander Zverev faced a challenge with a short recovery time in Rome.
And even though those are also difficult to deal with for players, late-night finishes are probably something that they experienced previously in their careers, and until they play on the very next day, they can deal with it.
But with the 2023 Madrid Open and 2023 Italian Open announcing new 96-player formats, another interesting situation occurred in Rome. Holger Rune and Casper Ruud played their last match on Wednesday, with their semifinal meeting taking place on Saturday.
That means that players have two full days between their quarterfinal and semifinal match, something really rarely seen before. Moreover, the scheduling makes even less sense since the winner will then have to play the final the very next day.
In Madrid, which is a similar event to Rome, players had their semifinal matches on Friday, and the final on Sunday, a schedule that makes sense with one day in between. However, creating a two-day gap and then forcing players to play two matches in two days is something that really raised eyebrows.
The same thing was experienced also by WTA players Veronika Kudermetova and Anhelina Kalinina, who participated in the longest WTA match of the year. They both played their quarterfinal matches already on Tuesday, waiting until Friday to compete in semifinals.
This was noticed also by former Andy Murray's coach, Mark Petchey, who shared his thoughts on the event's scheduling.
"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."
"Keep it [the two-week format]. They are putting a lot of faith in 4 days where you need every singles match to deliver. Finals are different due to the occasion but it’s a big risk for 4 days. Unlike the tour finals you aren’t guaranteed a Top 8 player."