The premiere clay Masters event on the ATP calendar, Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 2019 concluded with the Italian, Fabio Fognini lifting up the title. Before that, he defeated the clay-courter of all-times, Rafael Nadal and reached the finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Despite being a successful tournament on the Mediterranean coast, the tournament is entirely focused on the ATP men and the WTA women are not included in the schedule of the event. The clay season of a tennis calendar ensures three tournaments for both men and women, namely, Madrid Open, Italian Open, and the French Open. The men and women do not share space at the Monte-Carlo Masters.
Director of the tournament, Zeljko Franulovic conveyed that the hosting of WTA events is not achievable due to lack of infrastructure in the Monte Carlo Country Club. “There were some ideas, proposals, even projects that have been envisioned, but when you think about the fact of adding 56 or 60 players in the main draw plus doubles, plus training courts, and you have to deal with all the scheduling, and you have men and women, it is quite complicated,” Franulovic conveyed.
He later compared the facilities of Monte-Carlo Masters with the ‘American Sunshine Double’ tournaments where they have ample of the area to conduct both men’s and women’s matches, and whereas on the Mediterranean coast the expanse is a challenge. Also, the association of Monte-Carlo Masters is looking forward to upgrading their standards and ameliorate their amenities for the ATP men.
“So even though we have managed to change for the better, we do not have more square meters. The surface still stays the same. So it’s not the same as if it was Miami or Indian Wells where there is no problem of space. But we have made the decision to keep our men’s tournament and improve the quality.”
Franulovic elucidated the number of the activities taking place in the Monaco region and their calendar does not provide a vacant slot to host the women’s counterpart of the Monte-Carlo Masters. Their calendar is unoccupied in the summers and the tournament can be organized during any time of the year, but most of the public is vacationing at that time and hence the tournament won’t generate a significant amount of capital. Which consolidates their disengagement in the women’s game at the Monte-Carlo Masters.
“We have to be aware of the fact that in the Principality, the dates and the seasons along the year are very specific. For instance, in spring we have our tournament here. Then we have the Formula 1, the Grand Prix. And then summer arrives very soon, and people go on holidays,” Franulovic explained.
He highlighted the point that the men’s game contributes more towards the generating the funds for the tournament as it attracts more people who engage themselves as spectators, whereas the WTA circuit might not be as successful as the men’s game in bestowing the funds.
“It is difficult to organize such a tournament and expect to have a big development of such women’s tournament. So if we separate men’s tournament from the women’s tournament, we are not going to benefit from the power and the attraction that the men’s tournament will have. For instance, if we decide to organize it in July, it’s going to be, like, on their own.”
Franulovic further elaborated upon the equality in the amount of prize money to be awarded to WTA players. Therefore, the Monte-Carlo Masters has to have a significant business in order to remunerate the women as much as men.
“Another point is that we need to assess the price, particularly the costs and the prize money because of course, the prize money has to be at the same level for the women as for the men. So we need to draw a really solid business plan and do our accounting before actually going into that venture.”