Grading each potential new Masters 1000 venue

There are rumours of a new Masters 1000 event on the horizon.
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The ATP tour currently holds nine Masters 1000 events every single year across Europe, North America, and Asia. But this week more than any has seen talk of a potential 10th event and discourse around where that would be growth.

British tennis legend, Andy Murray, came out in support over an event in South America this week on X saying, "South America should have its own dedicated swing on tour with its own Masters series." He is right. It should.

Discussions about events in the Middle East have also caused a stir, due to the ongoing human rights issues, whilst there have even been suggestions to have a Masters series on grass. So we thought it was time to summarise each of the potential venues for the seemingly inevitable 10th Masters and give them a grade from A to F on how good an option they would be. Let's start with the F.

Grading potential ATP Masters 1000 sites

Saudi Arabia (Jeddah/Riyadh) - F

Perhaps the location that looks most likely also seems the most worrying. Everything about the rumoured Riyadh Masters feels wrong. The plan is to host the event just a week before the Australian Open from 2025 onwards. This puts the future of events like the United Cup in jeopardy, and if the event were to be mandatory, it would put further stress on the athletes' bodies by shortening the already brief off-season even further.

The plan also involves the creation of a new ATP 'Super Tour', leaving behind ATP 250 and 500 events, and putting more focus on the Slams and Masters series, which could have some serious knock-on effects for the lower-ranked players on tour. Then there is of course the elephant in the room, 'sportswashing', many people are still uncomfortable with the human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, and for good reason. So pushing more eyes onto the nation doesn't seem like the responsible thing to do.

Qatar (Doha) - D

The second of our Middle Eastern duo gets a slightly better rating than Saudi Arabia, but the problems remain the same. Sportswashing is a major issue, with similar human rights issues evident in Qatar. However, Doha is going about things the 'right way' so to speak, upgrading the current ATP 250 event to an ATP 500 event for next year, with a vision to upgrade further into a Masters series in the future.

The event also has a place on the calendar already, a few weeks after the Australian Open, and a few before Indian Wells, so it wouldn't cause the strategic nightmare that the Saudi event poses, which is something for Doha to hold on to.

Brazil (Rio) - B

Some of the loudest fans on the ATP tour come to Rio every year and it's difficult to think of many places more worthy of a Masters 1000 event. The only ATP 500 event in South America, it seems unlikely that a Masters event would come from anywhere else, with both Santiago and Buenos Aires denied the chance to upgrade to an ATP 500 event, an essential precursor to becoming a 1000.

South America has always been a hotbed for top talent on the ATP tour, and adding an elite event to the continent will only heighten the excitement. The one problem however is infrastructure and investment. The 'money is no object' line that the previous two candidates could lead with doesn't apply quite so much with Rio, so if the event is going to the highest bidder so to speak, it's unlikely that we'll see a Rio 1000 event any time soon.

United Kingdom (London) - C

Upgrading Queens Club from an ATP 500 to a Master's event isn't the craziest of suggestions. In fact, ATP President Andrea Guadenzi has gone on record to say that having a Masters on grass before Wimbledon 'makes sense'.

The competition already has a lot of history and is well attended, with the infrastructure in place to host a Master's event. However, it's not the most exciting choice. When you have a Grand Slam in London already, hosting a Masters just a few short weeks before in the same area doesn't get you out of your seat. So whilst London would be a safe choice, it's definitely not the most inspiring one.

Germany (Halle) - A

The second proposed grass-court Masters 1000 is an upgraded Halle event in Germany. Currently an ATP 500, the idea of the event being added to the Master's series is an attractive one for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it would bring a Masters 1000 back to a big European nation in Germany, after Hamburg lost its 1000 status to Shanghai back in 2008. Secondly, the event itself has a lot of history. When Roger Federer is a 10-time champion, it's tough to argue against the event's prestige. Finally, it simply makes a lot of sense. Germany is a country with the infrastructure in place to host such an event, doesn't struggle with high-profile human rights issues, and doesn't currently have a big tournament in the nation. Therefore, if a 10th Masters is set to be introduced, I can't think of many better destinations than Halle.

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