Gaudenzi: “What a beautiful Turin. And Sinnermania … Berrettini? Great gesture”

The ATP president promotes the first edition of the Finals in Italy and looks ahead: “Our sport must become more usable for everyone”

From our correspondent Riccardo Crivelli

The inspirer of a new era. This is how Andrea Gaudenzi, president of the ATP since January 2020, likes to define himself. Almost two years spent fighting a dramatic and unpredictable event like the pandemic and trying to reconcile the various souls of tennis with the aim of a more agile governance, in step with the times and innovative in the unity of purpose.

Difficult path, if it is true that the global reform could slip to 2024, but the goal remains fixed on the horizon: “To make tennis one of the three most popular sports in every country. However, let me congratulate Berrettini: he might have been able to play, but he made a gesture like a great man ”.

The Finals in Italy As an Italian and as president of the ATP, in the meantime, Gaudenzi promotes the first Finals in our country. “I can say that I am very satisfied: a year ago we had some fears. The arena is even more engaging than London’s O2, the pitch is beautiful and the players are happy with the city and the food, of course. There have been critical issues that we do not hide, from the influx of the public to the logistics, but we have taken note of what could have worked best and we will implement it for the next year ”. Certainly, in the image of a tournament, too many injuries are not good, even if one of the substitutes that took over was called Jannik Sinner. “The problem of a long season is obviously in our spotlight – confirms Gaudenzi – but it is unthinkable that we can have a three-month offseason as someone asks. The solution can only come from the personal management of commitments by the individual tennis player “.

Passion Jannik Then, it is true, it can happen that a substitution lights up the hearts as and more than a presence from the beginning. “After all, I was expecting Sinnermania a little: a boy of twenty so polite, without crickets in his head, extremely focused on his sport that puts together a season like his, evidently strikes the imagination as well of the a passing enthusiast who may only follow matches at major events. And then in Italy there is a great hunger for tennis, for a champion who is a superstar like Valentino Rossi or Alberto Tomba ”.

The ATP of the future The Finals in Turin for five years will certainly help to consolidate what the Americans call “sentiment”, but the ATP president especially cares about the global dimension of tennis. “In my vision, for example, the Finals could become itinerant to interest markets that are now excluded from the big events and we are also evaluating the proposal that the Next Gen can become a showcase that launches the Masters competing in the same city. I like the Under 21 Finals, I think they are functional to the spirit of research and development that animates us, a continuous test of experimentation, but certainly in the future they could collide with a more complicated calendar. But the real mission to which I have been committed since the first day of the election is to simplify the use of tennis: a single platform for buying tickets, a single platform for TV and streaming broadcasts. It is – confirms Gaudenzi – an ambitious goal, because we need to talk to the four Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and the Itf and everyone must accept a compromise: in this case my motto is less independence, more visibility “.

China and vaccines If the negotiations between federations and private associations are complicated, in front of those with the political authorities, the ATP must necessarily allow itself a step back, as in Australia and entry only to vaccinated people: “As ATP we have used the moral suasion on players for vaccination and we have reached 80%, but we cannot impose the obligation. This is why we are committed to asking the government of the State of Victoria to guarantee the presence of non-vaccinated people according to the local health protocol ”. On the other hot front, that of the case of Peng Shuai, Gaudenzi maintains a vigilant position: “We are worried, but at the moment we have no elements to evaluate a sort of sports boycott of China”. Waiting for comforting news.

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Gaudenzi: “What a beautiful Turin. And Sinnermania … Berrettini? Great gesture”