Novak Djokovic echoed the sentiments of former tournament CEO Ray Moore saying the Indian Wells tournament should have an elevated status above Masters 1000, which puts it equal to events like the Paris Indoors and Rome.
“I think this tournament – and you mentioned Shanghai and maybe a couple others – are willing to step it up, you know, and willing to, you know, compete for the higher level and a new category of the tournaments,” Djokovic said after winning a fifth Indian Wells title. “I don’t see a reason why we should not allow them to do that. It’s for the sake of players and sport. You know, everything is evolving in life, and our sport should, too.”
On Sunday, before he resigned the next day, Moore reiterated his position that he wants a higher level designation for Indian Wells.
“We have got this Masters Series 1000 designation right now. Nine tournaments are in there, but they are not all the same. They are not even close to being the same.
“The Paris tournament at the end of the year is 48 draw with a single court,” Moore said. “We pay three times as much prize money as them. They are seven days, but they get exactly the same points as us and the same designation.
“I just think that within The Masters Series is a natural divide. That’s what I have said. I haven’t said just us. I think Miami and Madrid should be in the same bailiwick. We pay way more prize money than those. We are 10-, 11-, 12-day events, much bigger draws. We have a 96 draw.
“So I said to Chris Kermode, Why can’t be we a Masters 2000? We are prepared to pay the financial entry point to be in that, which means increased prize money. We’re ready to do that.
“I don’t know about Miami, Madrid. I hope they would do the same. But I think within The Masters Series is a natural divide. Let’s do it. Why not?”
Any changes, Moore said, won’t occur before 2019.
“Having talked with some of the ATP board members and the WTA, a lot of ideas are floating around,” he added. “I think there will be a different format in 2019. Hopefully they will do some of the things we are suggesting: create a Masters 1500 or Masters 2000, and maybe there will be an increased draw. So they certainly are upping the financial commitment. The players have been successful in that. That’s okay. They deserve it.”
Right now, though, Indian Wells is searching for a Moore replacement.
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