Italian Tennis Federation still hoping to hold Rome tournament this year

andrewhendrie in News 23 Mar 2020
Centre Court at the Foro Italico in Rome (Credit Image: © Giampiero Sposito/Pacific Press via ZUMA Wire)

The Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) are in talks to reschedule the ATP and WTA tournaments in Rome for later on this year.

With the Internazionali BNL d’Italia – or Rome Masters as it’s otherwise known – one of the many tournaments currently suspended due to the COVID-19 virus, Italian tennis officials are scrambling to try and stage the event at a different date this year.

However, with Italy the most affected country in Europe with the continued spread of coronavirus, it seems unlikely Rome or any city in the nation will be ready to safely hold a tennis tournament for the foreseeable future.

FIT President Angelo Binaghi is still holding out hope though, saying he an ideal scenario would be the Internazionali BNL d’Italia being played before the French Open, which has rescheduled to a start date of September 20, just one week after the completion of the U.S. Open.

That would mean Rome would take place immediately after the U.S. Open, finishing the weekend before the start of Roland Garros.

”We plan to reschedule the Internazionali d’Italia this year,” Binaghi told Sky Sports 24.

“We would like to be one of the lead up events for the French Open. We would like to have it in Rome, but are willing to have it at any time, and on any surface.”

The clay-court tournament is a staple of the European summer tennis calendar and one of the key battlegrounds ahead of Roland Garros.

It also serves as one of the largest revenue streams for the Italian Tennis Federation, with all of the leading ATP and WTA stars usually competing.

The current defending champions of Rome are Rafael Nadal and Karolina Pliskova.

All tournaments have been called off until the start of the grass season on June 8, but there’s a very real chance Wimbledon and other events will also be cancelled if COVID-19 continues to spread at the rate it currently is across the continent.