The Italian Open has sparked controversy by doubling ticket prices after Roger Federer’s decision to play at the tournament.
One day after his three-set loss to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarter-finals, Federer announced he’d changed his plans and would be taking part in Rome.
“Just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I’m coming back to Rome to play in Italy,” he said in an Instagram video.
“Can’t wait. It’s so exciting. It’s been too long. I’ll see you there. Ciao tutti. Bye bye.”
While fans were initially overjoyed at the prospect of seeing the Swiss legend back in action, their joy soon turned to outrage.
Just hours after Federer’s announcement, Italian Open organisers revealed they’d bumped up ticket prices from €60 to €132 ($96 to $212).
And their justification only made people angrier.
“We want to reward fans who had bought tickets before they knew Federer would play,” the Italian Tennis Federation said.
This can’t be real right? Who tf uses roger Federer to rip off fans I mean, he’s not a tool! Our bank accounts are already suffocating enough because of the prices of tickets for some tennis tournaments these days 🙄 https://t.co/vViTBAO6DN
— martina 💯+1 (@flickersmartina) May 12, 2019
Yeh. The tickets will sell regardless so he has a point. Federer brings in profit and the organisers know it. If you wanna see Fed, you gotta pay up!!!
— DMA (@TennisMajesty) May 12, 2019
The most ridiculous reason for a price increase I have evr heard. I mean, if Federer wasn't coming, wouldn't they still prefer to sell the tickets?😂
— Timi Tennis (@tennisrambling1) May 12, 2019
— FED-The Best (@Fed98Thebest) May 12, 2019
Yeah, I’m a fan who’s going on Tuesday, but would’ve bought a ticket now for Wednesday also, just because of Fed. Now I can’t afford one, so I’ll skip. Great move 😐
— Andrea (@andrea_fede1) May 12, 2019
— specialsmiley (@Ianto_back2_TW) May 12, 2019
You call it supply and demand, I call it “Price gouging”. It neither grows the game or is something to be proud of.🤨
— Jimmy Miller (@Racquettechie) May 12, 2019
Insane..can't understand the logic from spectators point of view
— V20RA 101 (@tennis3038) May 12, 2019
Boo hiss to this tournament for the shameless grifting. It really is adding insult to injury to then try to spin it by saying the motivation was to reward those who'd already bought their tickets. Yuck.
— 2centsannandale (@2centsannandale) May 12, 2019
Change of plans?
The decision was somewhat of a surprise given Federer was previously thought to be only interested in playing one lead-up tournament before the French Open.
The Italian Open starts on Sunday and Federer has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed.
Federer is a four-time runner-up at the Italian Open, which he’s never won, making it one of the few significant trophies the 20-time grand slam winner hasn’t claimed.
He skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season.
He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.
Roland Garros starts on May 26.