Paris Masters schedule row rumbles on as Andrey Rublev calls out ATP

Andrey Rublev became the latest player to address the late finishes at the Rolex Paris Masters as he revealed that he wouldn’t get to sleep until at least 4am ahead of his semi-final against Novak Djokovic. The fifth seed walked off court shortly before 1am after starting his match on Friday night. An ATP Player Council member, Rublev called out the ATP in his on-court interview.

The scheduling in Paris-Bercy has caused controversy all week. The earliest finish in the first five days of the tournament came at 11:57pm on Tuesday while every other day stretched beyond midnight. The worst finishes came on Monday at 2:22am and Wednesday at 2:37am – when Jannik Sinner defeated Mackenzie McDonald and pulled out of his match the next day with fatigue.

And the pattern continued on quarter-finals day when Rublev – playing the second night session match – came from a set down to defeat Alex de Minaur 4-6 6-3 6-1, finishing his match at 12:59am. The 26-year-old must now return to face top seed and six-time former champion Djokovic in the semi-final.

And he called out the ATP during his flash interview after beating De Minaur, branding the schedule “crazy”. Speaking to TV cameras, the Russian said: “I mean first of all I need to have dinner, treatment, arrive to the hotel, take a shower, so I don’t know when I’m going to go to sleep. 4, 5am?”

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Rublev also noted that he was a member of the ATP Player Council – a group of players elected by their colleagues to act as their voice in decisions across the men’s tour. But it seemed that even Rublev’s voice wasn’t being heard.

“Crazy. Amazing schedule. Thank you. And I’m council of ATP and ATP, we are together,” he added, putting his thumbs up sarcastically. Saturday’s order of play has since been amended, with the start time for Rublev’s match against Djokovic pushed back by half an hour.

Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas will take to the court at 2pm local time. Originally, Rublev was then meant to play not before 4:30pm but he is now due on court not before 5pm. However, if Dimitrov and Tsitsipas play beyond that time then the fifth seed with face Djokovic as soon as they finish.

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It comes after the tournament lost one of its top players following the latest finish yet on day three of the tournament. Sinner was due to play on Wednesday night but took to the court after midnight in the early hours of Thursday, finishing shortly before 3am. The following day he was scheduled as the last day session match, which would have been played at around 4pm. 

Instead, the fourth seed withdrew from the tournament citing fatigue and said: “I am sorry to announce that I am withdrawing from today’s match in Bercy. I finished the match when it was almost 3 in the morning and didn’t go to bed until a few hours later. I had less than 12 hours to rest and prepare for the next game.

“I have to make the right decision for my health and my body. The weeks ahead with the ATP Finals at home and the Davis Cup will be very important, now I focus on preparing for these important events. See you in Turin.”

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