TENNIS: Novak Djokovic tells ATP Dubai deserves Masters status
Novak Djokovic believes the time has come for the Dubai Tennis Championships to be elevated to the prestigious Masters 1000 level, writes Marvin France...
Fresh after beating Tomas Berdych on Saturday night for a fourth Aviation Club crown in five years, the Serb sensation couldn’t speak highly enough of the Garhoud event - and not just because of his exploits on the court.
With star-studded fields to rival any Grand Slam,
player-friendly facilities and fans who turn up in their droves year in, year out all combine to make the tournament one of the best on the circuit, according to Djokovic.
And after being named the best ATP World Tour 500 event nine out of the last 10 years, the six-time Grand Slam winner was left scratching his head thinking what more it has to prove.
“That says enough about the quality of this tournament,” Djokovic said. “You have always at least four, five players from the top 10 coming here and always entertaining weeks of tennis with the women’s the week before and then men’s back to back, have over 100,000 people coming to watch. I mean, all these facts I think are saying enough about the quality of the tournament that they’re organising.
“I don’t know a single player who has played here and has a negative feeling about the tournament. On the contrary, everybody wishes that this tournament is played for a bit longer time, like we have Indian Wells and Miami, and I think that this tournament deserves.”
Masters 1000 events are viewed as the most prominent on Tour after the four Grand Slams and end-of-year finals due to the high number of ranking points awarded. There are currently nine such tournaments on the circuit, eight of which are mandatory, of which the ATP have been loath to tinker with.
Since the Masters 1000 series inception 23 years ago just one new event - Shanghai in 2009 - has been added to the schedule. However, rather than the same old tournaments being guaranteed a place at the elite level, Djokovic believes cities should compete for the right to call themselves a Masters 1000 event.
“Why not? I mean, you have to give opportunity to the cities around the world,” the world No.1 added. “If you have it as ATP has control over 1000 events, why not play around with that, try to evolve, try to grow a little bit, you know, because there has been a too much conservative path that tennis has been taking.
“If the cities are going to have the big tournaments, then they have to earn it, you know.” The first Masters 1000 event of the season gets underway this week in Indian Wells.