Italy’s Internazionali d’Italia are becoming more and more appealing as they change their structure into a combined event, that will bring the stars of men’s and women’s tennis together in Rome at the same time, and feature both men and women Numbers One from May 7 to the 15th.
Instead of playing separately for two consecutive weeks, Nadal, Federer and their ATP fellows, the Williams, Clijsters and the WTA’s women will all perform in the nine-day span of what aims to be tennis’s fifth grand slam.
Nearlyall the top players from the ATP and WTA who are currently fit are expected to compete on the clay here in Rome for the 68th edition of the country’s most important tennis tournament. Novak Djokovic and another 3 dozens of the top-ranking men will challenge the world number one and five-time Rome Masters champion Rafael Nadal and his great rival Roger Federer.The women’s side can also boast the world number one, the danish Caroline Wozniacki and Italy’s own French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. 32 of the best 35 female players, indeed, will show up on Rome’s courts.
The re-introduction of the combined event format after 33 years has also had major positive business effects on this classic of the international tennis calendar: ticket sales rose a hefty 50% on last year, sponsors are flocking and there will also be increased television coverage. And all this comes on the back of weak Italian and European macroeconomics data.
The Internazionali take place in the beautiful setting of the Foro Italico sports complex, with the green Monte Mario hill and the Stadio Olimpico in the background and will also inaugurate a renovated second court, the Stadio Pietrangeli, after last year’s opening of the new 10,500 seat Central court arena.
The tournament also organized parallel initiatives, such as the World Beach Tennis Championships and a Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
But the most exciting aspect of the Internazionali for Romans and Italians is the realistic hope of seeing an Italian woman win after 33 years. World number four Schiavone and 20 Flavia Pennetta, who were decisive in helping Italy gain three of the last five Fed Cups, look set to triumph again.
Tickets as cheap as 11€ for a daytime session!