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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday May 13, 2024

Stefanos Tsitsipas believes that expanding the current calendar to make several Masters 1000 tournaments into two-week tournaments is hurting the players. The Greek, who reached the round of 16 in Rome with a 6-2, 7-6(1) victory over Cameron Norrie on Monday at the Foro Italico, says that the fact that the sport is missing its top players in Rome hurts, and added that he believes we’ll see more of the same, because of the new two-week format at these events.

Tennis Express

Tsitsipas says that the sport misses out when players like Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz cannot enter the draw due to injury.

“Without them, the show is not kind of the same,” he said. “You have obviously the guys behind them. These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing, active, and having the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.”

Tsitsipas adds that he believes that the tour schedule, as it is currently formatted, is leading to more injuries.

“I've spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies,” he said. “It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The No.8-ranked Greek says that changing Madrid and Rome to 12-day events takes a mental toll on players. Many believe that changing the format, and adding a day of rest between matches for players, would be helpful, but players like Tsitsipas feel the opposite is true.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events,” Tsitsipas said.. “Adding more days to that, well you have to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back for ten days in each event, getting to the very end of it. It's not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.

“If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

Swiatek: I Can Sympathize With Both Opinions

This topic has been hotly debated in recent weeks, with players and pundits weighing in. It’s hard to be sure if Tsitsipas’ theory holds water, but he does make a good point about the mental strain perhaps leading to more physical strain on players.

World No.1 Iga Swiatek, who won the title in Madrid and is into the quarterfinals at Rome, says she can see it both ways.

“Honestly, it’s hard to say, because I can sympathize with both these opinions,” the Pole said. “There are for sure times where it feels like we are having these days off and it would be nice to finish earlier. When we have, for example, like a week off before a Grand Slam, then maybe we can have some longer time and come back home for a bit. But yeah, we are in that kind of situation on tour where we are going to be leaving home for, like, more than two, three months, and we need to kind of adjust to that.”

Swiatek admits that it does help her to have an extra day off between matches to prepare physically.

“On the other hand, it really helps when you have a day off to be ready physically for the next match, so I would say physically it’s kind of easier to recover during the tournaments, but mentally you need to be ready for these long tournaments without having really days off, because even when we have a day off, we usually come here and practice and we see courts, we see these faces, you know, eat the same food. So it’s not like you can totally switch off. So, yeah, on one hand it’s easier physically, but on the other hand mentally sometimes it’s tough.”