The 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia tournament is at hand. The Rome Masters follows a week in Madrid in which Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played for the 50th time. They are in the same half of the draw in Rome, meaning they cannot meet in the final. Someone has a big opportunity in the other half of the draw.
The competition in the 56-player main draw begins on Monday, May 15.
Event: Rome Masters
Category: ATP World Tour – Masters 1000
Date: May 15 – 21, 2017
Location: Foro Italico – Rome, Italy
With a prize money allotment of over 4.2 million Euros and an overall financial commitment of over 4.8 million, the Rome Masters is not as lucrative as the previous week’s event in Madrid, which has greater financial backing at a newer and more modern facility. Nevertheless, it has grown by roughly half a million Euros from 2016 (3.7 million Euros then). It’s a very important tournament because it’s the last most significant warm-up tournament on the road to the French Open. Roman clay is considered a more natural clay surface compared to the harder and more packed surface at altitude in Madrid’s more enclosed courts. Rome is viewed as the truer test of a clay-court player, so everyone wants to play and do well here in order to feel good about Roland Garros.
Champion – 1,000
Runner-up – 600
Semifinal – 360
Quarterfinal – 180
Round of 16 – 90
Round of 32 – 45
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016 – Andy Murray def. Novak Djokovic – 6-3, 6-3
2015 – Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer – 6-4, 6-3
2014 – Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal – 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
2013 – Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer – 6-1, 6-3
2012 – Rafael Nadal def. Novak Djokovic – 7-5, 6-3
In 2016 Andy Murray reached the pinnacle of tennis but he has done nothing to prove he is the best tennis player in the world. While he remains the top-ranked player on paper, he has failed to bring that persona on court. Murray hasn’t looked threatening and has lost to players ranked way below him in Monte Carlo and Madrid. He is the defending champion in Rome, but his prospects look dim, especially with a tough draw. He could play Fabio Fognini in his first match, and that’s just the start.
Novak Djokovic fired his entire coaching staff, calling it “shock therapy.” While it sounds utterly ridiculous, it’s exactly what he needed. Djokovic has not yet made a Masters final this year (though he plays Saturday for a berth in the Madrid final) and is short on motivation. He desperately needs a new voice to spur him. While there are lot of talks surrounding Andre Agassi being his next coach, people are still waiting for substantive reports. Djokovic is coach-less at the moment but that doesn’t make him any less threatening.
Stan Wawrinka loves playing on clay, but he has had a forgettable start to the long clay swing. Does it mean he’ll peak during Roland Garros? His chances at any major tournament can’t be discounted, but there is another Masters to be played in Rome. Can he rediscover his lost magic in Foro Italico? One never knows with Wawrinka. That’s what makes him so dangerous.
Rafael Nadal is already the favorite among the bookmakers for Roland Garros and every clay tournament he plays. The Spaniard survived a scare against Fabio Fognini in the second round in Madrid but was at his majestic best in his straight-set demolition of Nick Kyrgios in the following round. There is no doubt over Nadal’s form, but he isn’t getting any younger. Overplaying tournaments might prove costly in Rome.
If you leave aside the top four, Dominic Thiem has been the most impressive clay courter in the last 15 months. However, a clay Masters semifinal had eluded him until Madrid. Let’s see how Thiem backs up that result in Rome.
Consistency has been the feature of David Goffin in 2017. The Belgian has been there in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of tournaments but hasn’t won a tournament. Will Rome bring any luck?
The Foro Italico
The Foro Italico is one of the most impressive old facilities on the ATP Tour. The central court is an intimate court with the fans right on top of the action. The stadium is tall, and the seats have a steep, sloping quality to them which shoehorns fans in an intimate way, especially for night matches. Some of the other courts at the Foro Italico are amphitheaters, basically, dug into the grounds. Fans walk the complex and can look in on some matches at the top of a court’s seating structure from their ground-level position. One of the other courts at the Foro Italico is named after two-time French Open champion Nicola Pietrangeli, one of Italy’s greatest tennis players (from the late 1950s and early 1960s).
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