TOKYO (Reuters) – The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is keen to expand the Olympic Games schedule from nine to 11 days to ensure adequate rest for players and handle the hot summer conditions for the Paris 2024 Games and beyond.
Organizers moved the start of matches later in the afternoon to the middle of the Games tournament in Tokyo last week after players complained about the sweltering weather conditions https://graphics.reuters.com/OLYMPICS- 2020 / SUMMER-HEAT / bdwvkogrzvm, with men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev warning officials that a player “can die” in the heat.
“The challenge is that we have nine days to play five events, and we have almost 200 players. The lineup for the first two days is 48 matches per day, 12 courts with four matches per day,” said the president of the ‘ITF, David Haggerty, to the press. Sunday.
“As you know it could be a long day, but what we really need is 11 days and more relaxed players.”
“It will require us to talk to our other stakeholders and take them on the journey, and the players have certainly told us that it is important for them to be able to train for two or three events.”
“So I think that’s really the driving force – the voice of the athletes and their willingness to compete.”
Kris Dent, ITF senior executive director of professional tennis, said the sport governing body has taken steps to ensure players are well rested and to deal with difficult weather conditions, such as reducing the number of sets played and the introduction of tie-breaks.
But organizers were unable to manage the busy schedule of the Games, with many players competing in both singles and doubles competitions.
“The key thing is really about resting the players… It’s definitely a priority for us, looking forward to Paris and Los Angeles (2028),” Dent said.
(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)