ATP Rio: "Bringing Nadal, Federer and Djokovic easier on Hard Court"

In an interview, the Rio Open tournament director Luiz Carvalho spoke about the Brazilian tournament struggling to get the best players in the world as it takes place on clay in February. At the introduction to the ATP Tour in 2014 the choice for clay courts was easy, Carvalho stated.

"We did not have much of an option. I remember that Rio was a hard court section from Memphis so it had the right to host the event on hard. But it's in South America so that's why we picked clay. We had top clay-courters like Rafa who played there for three years, which attracted a lot of media and sponsors."

"The first three years we had Rafa so it was not an issue but we knew that once he decided his schedule would change, the issues would have been there. We have been talking about hard courts since 2016 and we suffered on the line-up in the last two years."

Carvalho realizes getting the top players is much harder now: "We only have Dominic Thiem as a top ten guy. It's difficult. We try to manage it as much as we can even if we do not bring the best players we want to. 60,000 people regularly attend the event."

On asked about the top three seeds: "It's tough to say. They [Nadal, Djokovic, Federer] are playing less and less. I am not sure. I am sure we would bring one of them eventually but not every year. But there are many other players besides them like Zverev, Khachanov, Nishikori who would play on hard in Rio. We would be able to compete with Rotterdam, Dubai and Marseille at the same level if Rio was on hard."

Carvalho admitted that from the named players Alexander Zverev is unlikely to compete in Rio: "We are still in talks but it's hard. It's not going into the direction we would like."

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