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No plans to sell the license but considering other cities in France: Pioline on the future of the Paris Masters

Paris Masters TD Cedric Pioline talks about the challenges facing the event in the coming years

Cedric Pioline at the 2022 Paris Masters Cedric Pioline at the 2022 Paris Masters Image Credit: Federico Pestellini / Panoramic

Paris Masters Tournament Director Cedric Pioline has said that there are no plans to sell the tournament license but did confirm that moving the tournament out of Paris is an option on the table.

Despite record-breaking crowds this week, the Paris Masters faces challenges in the coming years as it will become one of only two Masters 1000 events (the other being Monte-Carlo) that will be a men’s-only event played over one week rather than a combined men-women’s event with an expanded draw like the other seven.

“The Federation’s position is not to consider selling, because unless mistaken, we are the only Federation with a Grand Slam and a Masters 1000, because Cincinnati was sold. It’s an important thing to showcase tennis, to promote tennis. It’s a good thing to have one foot in the Federation, one foot in the Grand Slam organization. This tournament has been going on since 1986. The Federation is very much attached to traditions. It’s a showcase for tennis. Others do not have that anymore,” Pioline told the media prior to the men’s singles final on Sunday.

“I would say that first there is an ATP strategic plan, as you all know. The whole series has protected Masters 1000 for 30 years, namely until 2053. Already this is something that is important. Before it would be renewed every year. Now this is set in stone. As for the side evolutions, next year there will be three Masters 1000s that will be mixed gender in 2025, because 2024 is an Olympic year. There will be two more, so that will bring seven out of nine. There will be only two last tournaments that will not be mixed; mainly, Monte-Carlo and Rolex Paris Masters. All the others will be mixed.”

When your neighbor repaints their house, your house looks less good. This is the way I should describe it.

Cedric Pioline

Pioline said getting the right venue with the right number of play courts and practice courts are some of the challenges that the tournament will face if it wants to expand the draw size.

“The bigger the draw, the more courts we need. We will need more capacities and bigger facilities. So we will have to do an evolution, we have an indoor structure. I do not want to say it’s impossible, but it’s very complicated, because this does not exist to have in a single venue more than four or five courts. If we were to have a draw with 96 players, we should have eight match courts and eight practice courts on the venue. It’s a mini-Grand Slam format, very close to a Grand Slam format. The problem is that the schedule is difficult to manage. Every week will overlap with a Masters 1000 that will take an additional week, because even if it starts on a Thursday, it actually eats up the whole week. This is something that is complicated as of today. While we talk, this is not considered.”

“That (moving out of Paris) is one of the options that are available” – Pioline on the future of the Paris Masters

Pioline acknowledged that moving out of Paris is one of the options on the table currently.

“So for these reasons, we do not consider going into that direction, but we have to grow. This edition is a good milestone, because it shows that we are full. So how can we grow? These are the subjects that will come up. The deadline that we have is comfortable. It’s 24 months. It will come fast. We don’t have any obligation. ATP does not impose this on us. But when your neighbor repaints their house, your house looks less good. This is the way I should describe it,” Pioline added.

“That (moving out of Paris) is one of the options that are available. We are thinking about it. We are starting to make inquiries. Of course until now, we were very much busy with the organization of this edition, but we do not exclude this. We will study this. Then the Federation at the highest level, namely the president and ComEx will make their decisions, and we will implement it. This is possible. I say this in full transparency, because Accor Arena knows about this. They know that we are thinking about it.”

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