World's top tennis stars compete in Rome this week.
The 2022 Internazionali BNL d'Italia tennis tournament, also known as the Rome Masters or the Italian Open, is being held at the Foro Italico from 2-15 May.
The annual Rome event, which combines men and women's tournaments, is played on a red clay surface across 14 courts: eight for singles and doubles matches, and the other six for practice sessions.
The world's top tennis stars are competing in Rome from 8-15 May, after the pre-qualification stages, including 10-time Italian Open winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal who is seeking his 11th title.
Also in Rome is Novak Djokovic, who has won the event five times and whose arrival in the Italian capital was preceded by controversy earlier this year.
In February, during the height of Italy's covid-19 restrictions, Italian sports authorities ruled that the Serbian world champion could compete in Rome despite not being vaccinated against covid-19.
The decision was announced weeks after Djokovic was deported from Australia after the government cancelled his visa in a high-profile row over his vaccine status.
Other big names to look out for in Rome include Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, German Alexander Zverev and Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz.
Top names in the women's competition include world number one Iga Świątek from Poland, Romania's Simona Halep and Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.
Before the competition began on 2 May there was speculation that the Italian government might ban tennis players from Russia and Belarus from competing in Rome due to the invasion of Ukraine.
However the players from Russia and Belarussia have been registered officially in the Rome event, in line with ATP and WTA rules that Italian tennis federation Federtennis is obliged to respect.
Banning Russian and Belarussian players from competing in Rome would require direct intervention from the Italian government and is considered unlikely to happen despite the persistent rumours.
Such a move would have implications for players such as Russian Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka who are scheduled to play in Rome this week.
On the Italian front, there are six players competing, five men and one woman: Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Musetti, Flavio Cobolli and Camila Giorgi.
Local hero Matteo Berrettini will miss the Rome tournament due to a wrist injury.
The Italian Open was hosted in Milan from its inception in 1930 before being moved to its present venue in Rome in 1934, and becoming an open event in 1969.
For ticket information and programme details see Internazionali BNL d'Italia website.
Photo credit: FRANCESCO PANUNZIO / Shutterstock.com.
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Tennis: Rome hosts Italian Open 2022
Viale del Foro Italico, 00135 Roma RM, Italy