The sunny Roman wheater in May, the presence of tennis giants and the historical location give to this tournament a unique atmosphere.
Save the date! The 75th edition of Italian Open (known as Internazionali BNL d’Italia) will take place from May 7 to May 20, in the gorgeous frame of the Foro Italico, in Rome. The Italian tournament is surely one of the most prestigious on red clay, as every year it manages to give unforgettable moments to the Roman public. Loved by the graeatest tennis players, it opens the season on this specific kind of tennis ground and can be considered the ‘warm up’ for the immediately following Roland Garros.
The sunny Roman wheater in May, the presence of tennis giants and the historical location give to this tournament a unique atmosphere, enough to seem to be part of a new ‘five’ slam of ATP and WTA season.
What to expect from the Italian Open 2018
What is new, is that the pre-qualification matches (allowing the access to the main draw) will be played in a special tennis court set up in Piazza del Popolo, one of the most saucy square of Rome and symbolic front door to the city center. A maxi-screen mounted in this square will broadcast the entire tournament, with the aim of gathering all fans and curious bystanders. The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, wants to increase the value of this Italian Open edition. ‘It’s an extremely important and prestigious date, not only for sport, but also for the city. We established new relationships with the Italian Tennis Federation. The Italian Open 2018 has a double value: it doesn’t only glorify a very beautiful city, but the event will be shared and lived also in the outskirts of Rome’, she declared.
The tournament rules
Since 2011, the Italian Open adopted the format of a ‘combined event’. This means that both men’s and women’s matches alternate in the same day, giving the opportunity to the fans to see the top players of both sexes. This year, we will see under the Colosseum the American champion Serena Williams, winner of four Italian Open editions in her long career, and most notably absent of last year. All the best of men’s and women’s tennis ranking will delight the crowd, except Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who announced their forfeit.
The Swiss, the most loved star by the Roman public, has never won the tournament, despite his four finals played in Rome. It sounds incredible, considering his extraordinary career that brought him to win everywhere and everything, including 20 Grand Slams. Instead, the British Andy Murray won the Italian Open two years ago, just before the exploit of the German Alexander Zverev in the last edition. The reigning champion will defend his scepter of king of Rome in front of giants such as the Spainard Rafael Nadal (7 times winner), the Serbian Novak Djokovic (4 wins), the Austrian Dominic Thiem, the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, the Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro and the Belgian David Goffin. Italian tennis will be represented by Fabio Fognini, the best home player in the ATP ranking, Andreas Seppi and Paolo Lorenzi.
As regards the women, besides the above mentioned Serena Williams and the defending champion Elina Svitolina from Ukraine, it will be interesting to see if the number one of WTA ranking, the Romanian Simona Halep, will be able to take her revenge on the final match lost in the past edition. There will be also the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, finalist in 2013, the Russian Marija Sharapova (3 times winner) and the Spainard Garbine Muguruza. The Italian hopes are on Sara Errani’s rackets (already finalist in the 2014 edition) and Roberta Vinci, the two top players of Italian tennis at international level.
The schedule will be divided into two sessions, one in the morning and the other one in the evening. Pre-qualifications and qualifications will end on May 12, while the day after it will start the main draw, ending on next Sunday May 20. Semifinals and finals will be played at the Central Tennis Stadium in the Foro Italico, open since 2010 and considered by tennis players and journalists to be the stadium with the best visibility in the whole world.
A magnificent scenario
Two other tennis courts in the Foro Italico monumental complex will host the big machtes of tournament: the Next Gen Arena and the historical Pallacorda Stadium (now named after the Italian tennis legend Nicola Pietrangeli), built during the fascist period with the project of the architect Enrico Del Debbio, that provided a little amphitheatre surrounded by Carrara marble statues representing all the athletic disciplines. Even today, it is still considered an authentic jewel where the spectators can almost touch the players.
Finally, on a more historic note, by purchasing the Italian Open 2018 tickets, fans can get a free admission to the civic museums and archaeological sites of Rome, a great initiative to know better the history of the Italian capital. This Italian Open is going to be as usual an historical, sporting and social event, thanks to the steadily increasing number of fans and sponsors, to the citizens, authorities and tourists of Rome, and, last but not least, to an old, emotional and noble sport such as tennis.
Rome is waiting for its tennis king and queen, and you?