Wednesday's program in Rome promised to be one of the most entertaining since the start of the season, with many of the top stars scheduled to hit the court at Foro Italico. Nonetheless, the weather in the Italian capital had some other plans and rain didn't allow not a single point during the entire day, moving all the action to Thursday.
Roger Federer is ready to make a comeback in Rome after three years, facing Joao Sousa in the second round after a solid display in Madrid where he won two encounters and had match points against Dominic Thiem in the quarter-final.
Standing as the beaten finalist in 2003, 2006, 2013 and 2015, Roger will try to overpower the biggest rivals and fight for the crown, having to topple the names like Borna Coric, Fabio Fognini and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the semi-final.
The eight-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal opens the campaign against Jeremy Chardy, desperate for a serious result after semi-final exits in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, still seeking the first title in 2019. Another player who has won multiple titles in Rome in the last decade, Novak Djokovic faces the young gun Denis Shapovalov, eager to continue where he left in Madrid where he claimed the 33rd Masters 1000 crown to join Nadal at the top of the eternal list.
In the initial schedule, there was no place for Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini on Centrale, with Naomi Osaka and Anett Kontaveit in the agenda. That could all change, of course, together with Simona Halep, Stefanos Tsitsipas, David Goffin and Juan Martin del Potro who were supposed to battle on Pietrangeli.
Thursday's schedule has not been out yet but it should be an exciting day of tennis from start to finish, with promising weather and many of the world's leading players in action for the first time in Rome this year.