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Gaudenzi: Expanded Masters and Majors Healthier for Players

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, October 6, 2023

Masters and majors are growing—and that will benefit long-term health of players, asserts ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

Meeting the media at the Rolex Shanghai Masters today, Gaudenzi was asked if there's a concern expanding the length of Masters 1000 and Grand Slam tournaments could strain players. 

More: Nadal Returns to Practice Court

Earlier this week, officials announced the 2024 Australian Open will feature a historic Sunday start and join Roland Garros as the second Grand Slam to expand to 15 days rather than the traditional 14 days. We've also seen Masters 1000 events expand with the Miami Open going to a Sunday start.

Former French Open finalist and long-time standout coach Magnus Norman is concerned expanding tournaments could be a health hazard to players. Norman points out longer tournaments mean more practice and preparation time as well as more days on the road which makes him "worried for players physical and perhaps even more mental health."

A former ATP player, Gaudenzi argues the longer format will actually benefit players by giving them a day off between rounds and shouldn't impose a major impact since the tournament length primarily impacts players who go deep in the draw whereas players who make early-round exits will basically spend the same amount of time at a tournament.

"This year we have upgraded Madrid, Rome, and Shanghai, but Indian Wells and Miami, they have been already two weeks, 10 to 12 days draws for around 30 years, even when I was around playing," Gaudenzi told the media in Shanghai. "I strongly believe that players will get adjusted to it. Ultimately, yes, it is longer, but it is longer for the players who actually get to the end of the tournaments because if you lose first, second, or third round, ultimately, it would be a similar amount of days."

The day of rest and recovery between rounds is a crucial, which makes Gaudenzi "very confident" longer tournaments will be beneficial for players' mental and physical health.

"But what I really believe is important is now players can have a day off in between matches, and that in the long-term, I think decreases the chances of injuries," Gaudenzi said. "So they obviously have to adjust their schedule and probably take a few more breaks in between tournaments to spend a few more weeks home because there is potentially more days on the road.

"But from a mental health and physical health standpoint, I think having 96 draw played over 12 days is a lot better than having to play six matches in seven days back-to-back because this is really where the injuries come up. So time will tell, but I think we're very confident it will work out."

Photo credit: ATP