ATP hit by yet another draw controversy as they announce wrong schedule for World Tour Finals in London

Luke Brown
The draw for the World Tour Finals was mired in confusion: Getty

Just days after the ATP was forced to apologise for their “disgraceful” Next Gen draw ceremony in Milan, the governing body of men’s tennis was hit by a further controversy involving an embarrassing mix-up ahead of the World Tour Finals.

Wednesday's draw was delayed before organisers announced the wrong order of play for the season-ending tournament at the O2 Arena in London, leaving a number of angry fans with tickets for the wrong matches.

Things got off to a bad start when Boris Becker – who was asked to present the draw on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC radio – found himself stuck in traffic.

“Boris Becker is stuck in traffic,” Evans said at 8:15 when the draw was scheduled to take place. “He’s actually in the car stuck in traffic. So when Boris gets here we will start to carry out the draw for the ATP World Tour Finals.”

The draw was eventually carried out on the show, with six-time champion Roger Federer drawn into ‘Group Boris Becker’ along with German debutant Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Jack Sock. Rafael Nadal was meanwhile put into ‘Group Pete Sampras’ which also features Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin.

The two groups of four will play on alternate days until the semi-finals on Saturday 18 November, with Federer’s campaign set to begin on Sunday against Sock, with Nadal taking on Goffin a day later.

However, in an article explaining the draw on the ATP’s official website the governing body announced the opposite, erroneously stating that “Group Pete Sampras matches are scheduled to begin on Sunday 12 November and Group Boris Becker matches will begin on Monday 13 November.”

The ATP website before it was changed (Twitter @lukecolwill)

The mistake was later amended but not before a number of Federer and Nadal fans had bought tickets to the incorrect sessions – meaning that they will now miss out on getting a chance to see their heroes play in London.

“Bought tickets for Wednesday instead of Tuesday based on the ATPs announcement! Absolute liability,” Tom Kemp wrote on Twitter.

Another fan added: “What's the CORRECT schedule? Been getting contradictory info for the last hour. Federer himself says he starts on Sunday, others say Nadal on Sunday. Help!”

Federer and Nadal fans were left particularly disappointed (Getty)

And, to make matters worse, the ATP got the start times of the opening round of matches incorrect in their initial order of play, claiming matches would begin at 9am and 3pm rather than at 2pm in the afternoon session and 8pm in the evening.

The controversy comes at the worst possible time for the governing body of men’s tennis, which was forced to issue an apology on Monday following widespread condemnation of a draw ceremony for this week’s inaugural Next Gen tournament in Milan.

Players decided their group for the tournament by selecting the female model they liked the most while one was told to pull a woman’s glove off with his teeth, in a ceremony labelled a “disgrace” by the former world No1 Amélie Mauresmo.

The Next Gen draw was heavily criticised (Getty)

“ATP and Red Bull apologise for the offence caused by the draw ceremony for the Next Gen ATP Finals,” the ATP said in a statement on Monday.

“The intention was to integrate Milan’s rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world. However, our execution of the proceedings was in poor taste and unacceptable. We deeply regret this and will ensure that there is no repeat of anything like it in the future.”

World Tour Finals draw

World ranking in parentheses

Group Boris Becker

Roger Federer - Switzerland (2)

Alexander Zverev - Germany (3)

Marin Cilic - Croatia (5)

Jack Sock - U.S. (9)

Group Pete Sampras

Rafael Nadal - Spain (1)

Dominic Thiem - Austria (4)

Grigor Dimitrov - Bulgaria (6)

David Goffin - Belgium (8)


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