In an unprecedented turn of events, organisers have confirmed that the Italian government is edging for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from the looming Rome Masters. Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has in no uncertain terms condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Rome Masters (also known as the Internazionali BNL d’Italia), is one of the flagship tournament’s on the men’s ATP calendar. Set to be played from May 2-15, the draw for this year’s tournament boasts 9 of the top 10 men’s professional tennis players in the world. Held at the Stadio del tennis di Roma, the draw also boasts the same number of players as a typical grand slam tournament, with rounds commencing from the round of 128 . Rafael Nadal, a 10 time champion in Rome, has been confirmed for the draw, alongside current men‘s world number 1, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic was recently given the green light by tournament organisers to participate in the event, choosing to welcome the 3 time champion to Rome.
Nadal, who is also the last start champion at the event, will also be taking part this week in his home masters, the Madrid Open. The Spanish tennis sensation has been hampered by injuries over the past month, and has not competed since he lost the Indian Wells hard court final to Taylor Fritz, back in March.
The Italian Open (Rome Masters) is typically considered the very last tune up, or warmup tournament, before Roland Garros (French Open). Performance in the tournament is often very indicative of results at the clay major, which will this year be played without 20 time grand slam champion, and former world number 1, Roger Federer.
Federer, who has been blighted by injury over the past two seasons, has decided to wait until the US Open in September, to restart his season
It is also especially concerning, given Federer has not played a full schedule since 2019. This is also Federer’s second major comeback in as many years.