“Fully aware that that’s not the ideal solution for athletes on important matches” – Paris Masters TD Pioline on late night finishes

After a 3:03 AM finish earlier in the week, Paris Masters Cedirc Pioline addressed the media and said that he is personally not in favour of using shorter-set formats

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

Paris Masters Tournament Director Cedric Pioline has said that he is fully aware that late night matches are not the best option for players but does not know what an ideal solution would look like.

The tournament came under heavy criticism this year after one of the second round matches – between Cameron Norrie and local favourite Corentin Moutet – started after midnight and ended at 3:03 AM in the morning.

“Of course, I have questions about this. This is something that we will definitely tackle during the debrief meetings,” Pioline told the media on Sunday prior to the Paris Masters men’s singles final. “We will actually handle all the points that need improvement, but there is a moment where we can’t control anything. It’s beyond our control. We have, it’s a two-set match, it can last one hour, one hour 30, two hours, three hours, and we have had three matches that last three hours. So I’m fully aware that that’s not the ideal solution for athletes on important matches, because we have had French players, we had Norrie, as well. He was alternate, for instance.”

“I’m sorry for this, but, when the matches drag on, it happens. But Monday, the day match ended at 5:30, and as for the night session, it started at 7:30 and we ended up at 1:00 in the morning. So I wonder, what is the ideal solution? There is none. We are trying to have a framework. We are starting at 11:00 in the morning. We have four matches. The last one at 7:30. And on Thursday and Friday, it ended up at quarter to 11:00, 11:00, 11:30, let’s say. So, it was quite reasonable. We will talk about it, for sure. But spontaneously, I don’t have an ideal solution,” Pioline added.

“Can we have the same emotion, the same suspense with the NextGen tournament format? I doubt it” – Pioline not in favour of shorter match format at Paris Masters

Pioline, a former top 5 player and two-time Grand Slam finalist himself, also said that he was not personally in favour of the Paris Masters moving to a shorter format, such as the one used at this week’s ATP NextGen Finals.

“The NextGen tournament is an experiment. We are having very top players, and we all know that we can have long matches. What makes it dramatic, it’s when we have a tight match, when we have a tough battle, it’s a tight scoreline, when we know that they are tired, they are worn out. This is what happened with Tsitsipas, and what happens is that the public is happy about that. We can see that during the semifinals. But because of their ranking, they cannot meet at the beginning of a tournament, and we can’t say, Oh, no, you know, that’s not possible. You journalists say, Oh, my God, we’re gonna work for long hours and we need to write our articles. There is no ideal solution. Can we have the same emotion, the same suspense with the NextGen tournament format? I doubt it. This is why this sport is so amazing. It’s because we have suspense. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. Until two or three points at the end of the match, we thought that Tsitsipas could overturn the match, pom, pom, pom. Djokovic was very robust. And at the end he would make his roar like a bear, and that was it, the end.”

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