Shanghai Masters upgraded, draw to have 96 singles players
Starting from 2023, Rolex Shanghai Masters will have 96 players in the singles draw instead of the current 56, and the upgraded tournament will be played across 12 days in October.
Shanghai started to host the ATP 1000 event in 2009 after staging five editions of the Tennis Masters Cup. The tournament also became the only ATP 1000 event on the Asian swing.
"Years of efforts have led to the ATP's decision to expand the scale of our event," said tournament director Michael Luevano. "Before that, only two events – Indian Wells and Miami – had 96-player draws."
He added, "We are a relatively young tournament, but we have a young and active fan base, and that's what the ATP and the tennis world is looking to reach."
The other ATP 1000 tournaments that got an upgraded 96-player draw from 2023 are Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati and the Rogers Cup in Canada.
The expanded scale of the Rolex Shanghai Masters means higher requirements from the organizers in terms of both hardware and management.
According to Luevano, the upgrade of the Qizhong Tennis Center in Minhang District has already started. The players' and coaches' area will be expanded, with the construction of a new gym also under way.
Since the tournament will be spread out to two weekends and cover the National Day (October 1) holiday, more interactive activities will be arranged by the organizers to involve more fans and citizens.
Russia's Daniil Medvedev was the champion of the 2019 Rolex Shanghai Masters. The 2020 and 2021 editions of the tournament got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Association of Tennis Professionals is yet to make an official announcement on the fate of this year's event.
"It's a situation we have never faced before," Luevano noted, alluding to uncertainties over event organization amid the pandemic. "But I keep telling the team that we need to move forward and stay positive.
"The challenging part is not only preparing the event, but also dealing with what's happening in the world, which is something we can't control.
"We have full support from the ATP Tour and the Shanghai government. Our partners have also shown great understanding. But we should also be prepared for any outcome in early 2023."