by Will Boucek

August 27, 2021   

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The Italian Open is a long-running professional tennis tournament that started in 1930. It’s part of the men’s (ATP) Masters 1000 series of tournaments, and a Premier 5 event for women (WTA).

Previously, it was called the Italian International Championships. The tournament is sponsored by the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), a large Italian bank whose headquarters are in Rome.

If you plan to attend the Italian Open tournament, or simply want to learn more about it, this guide has all the details.


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About the Italian Open Tennis Tournament

Italian Open Tennis Tournament logo

With 90 years of history to its name, the Italian Open attracts top tennis talent from all over the world. It started off in Milan at a tennis club, but eventually moved to Rome in 1935, five years after it started, to the venue where it’s held today. Today, it’s one of the biggest clay-court professional tennis tournaments in the world.

Where is the Tournament?

The Italian Open is located in Rome, Italy at the Foro Italico.

It’s a sports complex that is located on the hillside of Monte Mario. The history of the Foro Italico goes back a long way to its completion in 1938 with the goal of using the complex for the 1940 Olympics. All over the location are gorgeous statues that depict various sporting events. Being there definitely gives you a feeling of long Italian history and Roman culture.

When is the Tournament?

The tournament usually takes place in the spring right before the French Open, which starts at the end of May. It starts right after the Madrid Open tournament concludes.

The 2021 Italian Open took place from May 9 – May 16.

Who are the Current Italian Open Champions?

The current champions for 2021 are the following tennis players:

  • Men’s Singles: Rafael Nadal (Spain)
  • Women’s Singles: Iga Świątek (Poland)
  • Men’s Doubles: Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić (Croatia)
  • Women’s Doubles: Sharon Fichman (Canada) and Giuliana Olmos (Mexico)

What Court Surface is the Italian Open Played on?

The court surface at the Foro Italico, where the Italian Open is held, is red clay. They have 11 courts, but only use eight for the tournament.

Italian Open Prize Money & Ranking Points

The prize money for the 2021 Italian Open was €2 million for the men, and €1.5 million for the women. The following is how the money was distributed between the winners and runner-ups in each category.


EventWinnersRunner-Ups
Men’s Singles€245,085€145,000
Women’s Singles€178,630€132,258
Men’s Doubles€50,000€35,000
Women’s Doubles€54,032€35,476

The winner of the Italian Open received 1000 ATP (men’s) or 900 WTA (women’s) ranking points in 2021. Here are the ranking points by round.


Men’s Singles & DoublesWomen’s Singles & Doubles
Champion1000900
Finals600585
Semifinals360350
Quarterfinals180190
Rd. of 1690105
Rd. of 3245 singles | no doubles60 singles | 1 doubles
Rd. of 6410 singles | no doubles1 singles | no doubles

How to Get Tickets to the Italian Open

The best way to get tickets to the Italian Open is through the official Italian Open website. There you can buy Central Court tickets to the main stadium, the Grand Stand arena, and the grounds area where the outside courts are located.

You can also purchase special ticket packages that include extra amenities, like access to an air-conditioned lounge area and a special entrance. Those are the Corporate Hospitality, the Club Suite Package, Courtside Hospitality, Gold and Platinum Rome Semis and Final that includes lower-tier seating and a hotel reservation.

You can also purchase tickets to the event through reseller sites like Stubhub and Viagogo.

How Do I See the Biggest Matches like Nadal or Djokovic?

If you want to see some of the biggest names in tennis, they are going to be playing on the largest Central Court stadium which holds 10,000 fans. It’s still an intimate enough venue that every seat in the house is going to be great for viewing all the action no matter where you sit.

Be sure to check the schedule and see which day and time your favorite player is playing. The top 8 seeded players will have a bye in the first round.


Where to Stay in Rome for the Italian Open

Rome is a bustling, vibrant city with many hotel options in all different price ranges. You are going to want to stay as close to the Foro Italico as possible to be on time each day for all the tennis action. The traffic all over Rome can get a little busy.

High-End Hotel Options

Great 4-5 star hotel options are:

Budget-Friendly Hotel Options

There are many 3 star, budget-friendly options close to the venue as well. All of these hotels are less than two miles away from the Foro Italico.

Airbnb

There is also the option of Airbnb. You can rent a room from a family home, go with a single apartment, or possibly rent an Italian villa.


Getting Around Rome

The easiest way to get around the city from the hotel to the courts is to use a variety of options. There is a metro bus that you can take, subway, tram, taxi, or go on foot.

Your hotel may also have a shuttle service that will take you to the venue for free each day you stay there. Be sure to check with the front desk when you check-in.


How to Make Your Italian Open Experience Great

There are eight clay courts used for the tournament at the Foro Italico.

That includes two main court areas, the Central Court and the Next Gen Grandstand arena. You’ll also have access to the grounds area where there are six other courts to watch other matches.

If you don’t want to specifically stay in your seat at a stadium, you’ll have plenty of fun wandering around the entire area of the Foro Italico, as a historical location with much to take in and see.

When to Arrive at the Tournament

You’ll want to get there on time to experience everything the venue has to offer. There is a welcome booth, vendors selling souvenirs, all types of food and drink available, and plenty of time to chat with the local Italian tennis fans about the tournament.

What to Bring with You

You can’t bring any outside food or drink into the venue.

The weather for Rome in May will be springtime and warm, around 75 degrees on average. Make sure you wear light, comfortable clothing, sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes to walk around the grounds. The courts are all outside, so you may want to be prepared for rain with a poncho or umbrella if needed.

What to Expect Inside

Before you enter the event, you’ll want to download the special Italian Open app off of their website. This app will give you up-to-date information on the schedule of matches, allows you to purchase food and drink from the vendors without having to wait in line, and shows you photos and video highlights from the matches. You can also win fun prizes from sponsors of the event.


How to Watch the Italian Open Tennis on TV

If you live in the US, you can watch the Italian Open tennis matches live on Tennis Channel.

  • To stream online, you can use Tennis Channel Plus. You will have to sign up for an account.
  • The men’s draw can also be streamed on ATP Tennis TV with a subscription.

If you live in Europe, you can watch the Italian Open on Eurosport or Sky Sports.

Will Boucek

About the author

Will Boucek is the Founder & CEO of The Tennis Tribe. He has played and coached tennis for over two decades. Will is a strategy analyst for ATP & WTA tour players and coaches. He also tests the latest tennis racquets, shoes, & other gear from Wilson, Babolat, Head, Prince, and other tennis brands. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas where he plays USTA leagues & tournaments.

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