ATP about to make big mistake in adding Masters 1000 in Saudi Arabia

(Photo by EVA MANHART/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by EVA MANHART/APA/AFP via Getty Images) /

Forget the warmup tournaments to begin the year. If the ATP and Saudi Arabia come to an agreement on a new Masters 1000 tournament the hectic tennis schedule will get worse and Australian tennis would be badly affected. The Australian Open might potentially even lose some luster.

The Australian Open is held every January and is the first Grand Slam of the year, of course. Most of the warmup tournaments are also played in Australia. These tournaments are needed as most players have a break from the beginning of November until the very latest in December. Two months off for a tennis player is a lot of time.

But according to British newspaper The Times, the ATP and Saudi Arabian government are really close to adding a Masters 1000 tournament that would end just eight days before the Australian Open begins in 2024. This is, obviously, all about money. The Saudis have a Public Investment Fund (PIF) that is trying to gobble up all kinds of things in sports. The fund already nearly broke golf as the Saudi-backed LIV tour separated players who made a commitment to the PGA tour.

An ATP Masters 1000 in Saudi Arabia is a terrible idea

Would the Saudis want the same thing to happen to tennis? They likely do not care. A high-level tennis tournament would bring them attention and money and that is seemingly what the Saudi Arabian government craves. But this isn’t an article about politics, and instead how a Masters 1000 tournament in early January would affect tennis.

Players already rightfully complain about being tired at the end of a 10-month-long season. For the most successful players, such as Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, and Carlos Alcaraz, the season is nearly 11 months long due to the Nitto ATP Finals in mid-November. But starting the year with two back-to-back important tournaments is just ridiculous, especially as Saudi Arabia and Australia are eight time zones apart.

Masters 1000 tournaments are the second-most important tournaments on the ATP tour as they give out the second-highest points to the winners. Only Grand Slam tournaments award more points. A player wanting to go for the No. 1 ranking would be basically forced to play in the Saudi tournament and Australia.

So you would have already tired players trying to win a Grand Slam to begin a year. Heck, the ATP should just cancel the tournaments later in the year. By the time the US Open is done, many of the players will simply be exhausted.

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