This week’s one-off ATP fill-in event in Naples has fallen victim to typical southern Italian chaos, with the start of competition delayed by at least a day until Tuesday due to unplayability of the temporary outdoor courts.

Red-faced officials at the event – one of several substitutes for the usual autumn events in COVID-lockdown China – have had to import the hardcort used at last week’s indoor Florence event to be trucked south quick-smart.

Qualifying round over the weekend proved the unsuitability of the slipshod surface, hence the need for another court to be brought in and installed.

The unique situation could only happen in Naples, with the 250-level tournament due to be played in the city for the first and likely last time.

The field is headed by unspectacular Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta with Italian drawcard Matteo Berrettini seeded second on what should be outdoor hardcourt,

With the surfaces laid out on boards, those bits of kit are being driven down from Florence 500 kms to the north.

Meanwhile, workers on Monday were dismantling the unsuitable original Naples surface.

The most recent explanation for the screw-up was that the original court was not waterproofed. Once it rained, the surface was useless for tennis.


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