The nightmare of the Chile Open: “The worst court I’ve ever played in an ATP level”

Chile Open
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SANTIAGO, Chile – The center court of the Chile Open is the flank of criticism in the 2024 edition. Irregular bounces are viral material on social networks, however, the big problem according to the tennis players themselves is the risk of falls and injuries.

“I love the tournament, but reality is that this is the worst court I’ve ever played in an ATP level”, said Chilean Cristián Garin after his first round exit against Tomás Barrios.

“The players are not happy, but I will not speak for others, I speak for myself: the court is very loose and we run the risk of injury. Even though there are no stones, when you slide at the back of the court there is like a pit, then when you run out you get stuck to go for a dropshot or another ball,” said Argentine Thiago Tirante after beating Brazilian Joao Fonseca in the first round.

The 17-year-old, wild card in the tournament, raised concerns when late in the first set went to hit a drive on the run, slid with his right foot and found the worst part of the court. At the back, on the right side of the umpire, the court presents the worst part, the most dangerous for the players. That’s where Fonseca caught his foot, fell and rolled. He did not suffer any physical damage.

Joao Fonseca tropezó a causa del mal estado de la cancha en el Chile Open // TENNNIS TV
Joao Fonseca fell due to the bad condition of the court at the Chile Open // TENNNIS TV

What is the organization doing? Catalina Fillol, tournament director of the Chile Open, addressed the criticism, but didn’t give the reasons for the failure of the infrastructure. “We are taking actions to incorporate the necessary improvements. We have been working for months to have a first class center court. At the moment we have reinforced our maintenance teams to intensify the humidity of the court, due to which we have increased the irrigation during the night, more use of rollers, and we have increased the number of court workers to better compact the clay”, she told radio ADN, media partner of the event.

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Roberto Carballés Baena complained harshly to CLAY. The Spaniard said after his defeat that he ended up with back pain due to the poor condition of the court, and that he played the whole match in fear of injury. In the middle of the first set, he asked to be moved to a secondary court and constantly complained about the unevenness of it.

His compatriot Pedro Martinez also stumbled when he tried to reach a Franceso Passaro drop shot. He later told the media: “The court is a bit soft. There are times when you put your leg in and make a hole, and then you have to stop and fix it. It gets uncomfortable and dangerous, because you can lock your foot, as it happened to me when I fell”.

The court, which was made by the company Kinsa Sports in mid-December, did not have the necessary maintenance before the tournament, and during the ATP week it is showing all its problems. The moments that betray its bad condition continue to add up, but some have faith that it will improve. Like Tirante, who will face Corentin Moutet in the second round and who knows that it is necessary to be very alert to the different bounces: “Court is not one hundred percent, but I think he will improve, as it happened in Cordoba, where it did not start well and it was in good shape from the quarterfinals onwards. Here the workers put their heart and soul into it”.

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