Rafael Nadal is the defending champion in Rome
Following the Madrid Open, the 79th edition of the 2022 Internazionali BNL d’Italia or the Italian Open will be held in Rome from 8-15 May.
It is the second of the two combined ATP and WTA 1000 tournaments held on outdoor clay ahead of the French Open later this month.
The tournament has attracted the cream of the crop in the upcoming edition as well. Eight of the world’s top 10 men will compete for the title, led by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. 10-time titlist Rafael Nadal will be looking to defend his crown after a quarterfinal exit in Madrid.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the highly-anticipated Italian Open:
What is the Italian Open?
One of the most important stops on the European tennis calendar, the Italian Open was established in 1930 in Milan. The tournament moved to the Foro Italico in Rome in 1935.
Following a gap, the championships resumed in 1950 in the Italian capital, with the exception of 1961 when it was hosted by Turin. In 1969, the tournament took a major stop by becoming open to professional players.
The women’s event was initially played in Perugia and Taranto before Rome became its permanent home in 1987.
Currently, the men’s competition is an ATP Masters 1000 event while the women’s competition is a WTA 1000 event. The two were combined in 2011.
Rafael Nadal is the most successful men’s player at the event, having triumphed a record 10 times. Novak Djokovic has collected the Italian Open title five times.
The two crossed swords in the final last year, with Nadal emerging victorious in three sets.
The Italian Open will be held on outdoor red clay at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy.
Novak Djokovic (L) & Rafael Nadal in Rome in 2021
The 56-player field has the top eight seeds getting a first-round bye.
Five-time champion Novak Djokovic leads the stacked draw in Rome. The Serb has been gradually gaining in confidence after being restricted to just four tournaments so far due to his unvaccinated status.
After a runner-up finish at home in Belgrade, he looks eager to make amends. The World No. 1 is still in contention for the title in Madrid this week, having set up a semifinal showdown with teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
2017 winner Alexander Zverev is the second seed. The German is looking to bounce back after an unimpressive campaign this year so far. He, too, has made the last four at the Spanish capital this week and will be hoping to build on it further in Rome.
Rafael Nadal returned to action at home in Madrid after recovering from a rib stress fracture that kept him out of action for six weeks.
The 21-time Major champion looked patchy but showed incredible fighting spirit to save four match points and beat David Goffin. As the third seed in Rome, he will look to get back to rhythm next week before heading to Roland Garros.
Monte-Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas has received the fourth seeding at this tournament. The Greek is looking to add a second clay Masters 1000 title to his resume this year in Madrid, having secured a berth in the semis.
Tsitsipas will be keen to continue the momentum at the Rome Masters as well. Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime round out the top eight seeds.
All eyes will be on 19-year-old Alcaraz, who toppled Nadal in Madrid and has already established himself as one of the contenders for the biggest titles in the sport.
Former Grand Slam champions Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka will also feature in the draw.
The qualifying rounds in Rome will be held on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. The main draw action kicks off on May 8 at 11 am local time, with the final scheduled for Sunday, May 15.
The prize money for the upcoming edition of the Italian Open is €5,415,410, with the winner set to earn 1000 points and €836,355.
Where to watch
Viewers from the US can catch all the action at the Italian Open live on the Tennis Channel, while fans in the UK will be able to see it live on Amazon Prime Video.
Canadians can watch the matches live on TSN & Rogers Sportsnet. In Australia, one can view the action on beIN Sports.
Fans in Italy will get extensive coverage on Sky Italia while Indian tennis fans can catch all the action live on Voot.
Live action can also be followed on TennisTV.