Organisers of the Paris Masters are facing heavy criticism over their scheduling after Jannik Sinner withdrew from the tournament following a late-night finish.
The fourth seed did not conclude his second-round victory over Mackenzie McDonald until gone 2.30am on Thursday morning and was then scheduled to play Alex de Minaur at 5pm.
Sinner, one of the most in-form players in the world, said he had to make the right decision for health reasons as his next match loomed.
It was confirmed around 90 minutes before the start of the match that Sinner, winner of two titles in his last three tournaments, including in Vienna last Sunday, had withdrawn citing fatigue.
“I am sorry to announce that I am withdrawing from today’s match in Bercy,” wrote Sinner on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I finished the match when it was almost 3 in the morning and didn’t go to bed until a few hours later. I had less than 12 hours to rest and prepare for the next game.
“I have to make the right decision for my health and my body. The weeks ahead with the ATP Finals at home and the Davis Cup will be very important, now I focus on preparing for these important events. See you in Turin! Forza!”
Before Sinner’s withdrawal was announced, Norwegian Casper Ruud defended the Italian and criticised the ATP.
Eighth-ranked Ruud took to social media to brand the scheduling a “joke”, writing: “Bravo @atptour way to help one of the best players in the world recover and be as ready as possible when he finished his previous match at 2:37am this morning 14.5 hours to recover.. what a joke.”
Stan Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, replied: “It’s crazy tournament doesn’t care and ATP just follow what the tournament will want! Always the same story…”
And Brad Gilbert, coach of Coco Gauff, said: “Crazy why at 10pm they had plenty of time to switch to court one was open, when there was a match still on center and another one to follow, before JS vs Mcdonald would get on center, horrendous decision to not have switched courts plain and simple.”
Late finishes are common place at other tournaments, including the US and Australian Opens, with Andy Murray describing his 4:05am finish in a match against Thanasi Kokkinakis in Australia this year as a “farce”.
Elena Rybakina said she felt “destroyed” by the Montreal schedule after her quarter-final ended at 3am in August.
Despite the complaints, the US Open has no plans to change its schedule.
“We looked at starting the evening session earlier, instead of 7pm start at 6pm, but it’s not really a possibility because it’s hard for New Yorkers to get here even at 7pm,” tournament director Stacey Allaster said.
De Minaur moves directly through to the quarter-finals, where he will take on fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who defeated Botic Van De Zandschulp 6-3 6-3.
Grigor Dimitrov continued his good form, beating Alexander Bublik 6-2 6-2 but Roman Safiullin was unable to follow up his upset of Carlos Alcaraz, losing out 4-6 6-4 6-2 to fellow Russian Karen Khachanov.