Novak Djokovic Agrees, Indian Wells Should Be At A Level Higher Than Masters 1000

by Tom Gainey | March 22nd, 2016, 10:30 am

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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6 Comments for Novak Djokovic Agrees, Indian Wells Should Be At A Level Higher Than Masters 1000

RZ Says:

I don’t agree with a Masters 2000, if the 2000 is the amount of points the winner gets. The slams give the winners 2000 points and I don’t think Indian Wells should be at the same level. But a Masters 1500 could be something for the ATP to look into.

In any case, I don’t think the politics of the ATP and the various Masters tournaments would allow this.

James Says:

Create yet another category of tournaments? Doesn’t really make sense. Why not standardize all masters 1000 to 64 draw for singles (no bye for anyone). I think its rather unnecessary for IW and Miami to take up pretty much a whole month. the so called “extra” partial first round doesn’t really add much to the tournament anyway.

Slams – 128 draw, best of 5.
1000 – 64 draw, best of 3
500 – 32 draw, best of 3
250 – who really cares.

Keep YEC as a special 1500 as it is now.

What’s wrong with this?

Also, we need a 1000 on grass too. They really need to shake up the schedule as it doesn’t make sense – why not have IW and Miami a couple of months earlier, leading up to the AUS open (to be held in March)? The weather would be better for all three, and there would be two prep 1000 on hard courts before the first hard court slam.

Then the clay season leading upto French

Then the grass season leading upto Wimbledon

Back to hard courts leading upto USO.

Then the indoor season leading upto YEC.

James Says:

And yes, for once, separate the women’s tour. I think people should have the choice of what they want to watch/attend/pay for, rather than being forced to watch matches (mens OR womens) just because they have tickets for the day.

Then lets see where the spectators go, both physical and on TV. Then lets adjust prize money accordingly, and actually pay women more if they generate more money than men.

RZ Says:

@James – attendees already have the choice of who they want to watch at joint events. Maybe not on the last 2 days of the tournament, but during the week there are plenty of options of go to other courts. And if they are there on the last couple of days when only the main stadium is in play, they don’t have to stay for the matches they don’t want to see.

chrisford1 Says:

Some tennis players and the cast of officials, organizers, ex-players in the media can be massively status quo and want nothing changed. Others though see a changing world, economic power shifting dramatically – and want the sport to evolve to not just keep up, but grow further.

Djokovic is generally in the “change can be good” camp, on many things. If organizers and sponsors want to spend money to greatly enhance an event or the Tour as a whole and make the sport and compensation better, shouldn’t they get some positive reward back, like more points, a chance to host the YEC? He has spoken out on this before. Wants Barclays to go to Latin America, IW to be a new Slam, Dubai to become a 1000 pt event. More money for the players ranked 30 and below, more points for challengers and futures circuits to get more mobility to and from the pro ranks.

And if TV wants to see the let call go bye-bye, and believes it and cutting down on delays will make for a 15% increase in viewership and sponsor endorsement revenue – why not give it serious consideration.

Should the overly revered Most Holy Slams be just left alone after the inclusion of the AO as a bona fide Slam 35 years back? If the hugely popular and lucrative Indian Wells or Shanghai event want to make their event on the level with a Slam, then shouldn’t the points awarded go up commensurately?

Tennis Vagabond Says:

There is somewhat of a divide. Over my lifetime, I remember hearing Rome, the Canadian Open, and Key Biscayne called the 5th Slam. Now its Indian Wells turn.

I like that some tournaments are bigger draws and longer than others. It would get boring for things to be so formulated. (Although I would not object to STANDARD TENNIS BALLS!)

The ATP has been pushing the calendar year season on us for years now, in the hopes of picking up more casual fans. This is why the Masters are as standardized as they are, and the Race to the Cup is pushed year round. I don’t think its been successful. Tennis is still about tournaments. If a tournament wants to be more ambitious, I think it would be in the ATPs interest to support that. Maybe creating a Masters+ level, as Moore seems to be suggesting, could help promote it, and in the end, get more eyeballs.
Might not go over well with Cincinnati, Barcelona, Paris…

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