In a recent interview with The Times, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi revealed that the organizers were exploring the possibility of a Masters 1000 event on grass in the weeks leading up to Wimbledon.
There are nine Masters events currently on the calendar, and they are restricted to just two surfaces - clay and hardcourt. For several years now fans have been calling for a grasscourt Masters to bring some variety into the ATP's crown jewel of tournament categories, but to no avail.
Although grass is the surface on which tennis originated, in today's world it is considered far less economically feasible than clay or hardcourt. Around 60% of all ATP level tennis tournaments are on hardcourt and around 30% on clay, with grass being confined to a small one-month window around Wimbledon.
But now Andrea Gaudenzi, who commenced his tenure as the ATP boss last year, has claimed that he is 'positive' about the idea of organizing a Masters event at either Queen's Club or Halle. One of the two traditional ATP 500 events could possibly be upgraded to the status of a Masters some time in the future.
"Personally, I like the idea of having a Masters 1000 on grass during the Queen's and Halle week," Andrea Gaudenzi told The Times.
"I like the concept of a big Masters 1000 leading up to Wimbledon" - ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi
Andrea Gaudenzi further claimed that he had pitched the idea to the board as well. The Italian stressed on the appeal of having a Masters 1000 tournament as a tune-up event to Wimbledon, which currently allows very little preparation time to the players.
"This is something I proposed to the ATP office," Gaudenzi said. "I like the concept of a big Masters 1000 leading up to Wimbledon."
Andrea Gaudenzi did acknowledge, however, that the board members still have to put their heads together about the idea. Gaudenzi also suggested that the move to organize a Masters 1000 event on grass was a way to bring back 'a big event' to the United Kingdom; the O2 Arena in London is no longer hosting the ATP Finals, since their license ended in 2020.
"This obviously needs to be discussed among everyone, but it could be a way to bring a big event to the UK," Gaudenzi said.