Chinese tennis star Wu Yibing on his journey to ATP Tour
The Saudi Arabia Masters is set to start just a week before the Australian Open in a radical change to tennis’ schedule. The proposed 1000-level tournament has been touted for the 2025 season following discussions with the ATP Tour, and will undoubtedly add more fuel to the fire surrounding tennis’ packed schedule.
The new tournament would be the first big event of the 2025 season. Traditionally that honor has been given to the Australian Open which starts in January and sees the sport’s biggest names take part after a winter break.
The tournament is one of four Grand Slam events – alongside the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – but would be usurped by the newly proposed Masters event. Adding a further complication, it is set to be held just a week ahead of the Grand Slam – according to a report from The Times.
The tournament will be tennis’ tenth Masters event and would add to an already packed schedule. It also raises questions regarding how players would fare having two major competitions so close together after an extended break, with players fearing they will lose out if they don’t play.
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Tennis’ busy schedule already sees players compete in numerous events throughout the season in order to claim points. The points go towards a player’s ATP Rankings, determining which player is performing the best to claim the prestigious World No. 1 ranking.
In recent seasons both players and pundits have bemoaned the sport’s hectic schedule which already includes nine 1000-level Masters tournaments – with the proposed Saudi Masters adding a tenth.
Earlier in the year, current World No. 1 Iga Switek was forced to withdraw from October’s Billie Jean King Cup and cited that her packed schedule is to blame.
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“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone,” The three-time Grand Slam winner said at the time.
“The situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury. I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our sport.”
Tennis scheduling conflicts have been an issue for several years with Elena Rybakina slamming the packed run of tournaments following her semifinal defeat to Liudmila Samsonova at this year’s Canadian Open.
“Yeah, definitely I feel destroyed just because of the scheduling and the whole situation,” she said. “I’m not really happy about it, but yeah, it is what it is.
“Unfortunately players cannot do much in this situation. The decision is not really ours. I picked up some injuries but we try to manage it and see how we will go from that.”
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