Djokovic, Nadal Call For ATP World Tour Finals To Leave London After '15
Tennis players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal yesterday "called for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to be moved from London," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Neither man was "criticising this event," but both "have their own reasons for calling for change." Nadal "dislikes playing under a roof," while Djokovic argued that the event "should be used to promote the game more globally." Djokovic said, "I still think the global potential has not been used. Not even close." Briggs notes the World Tour Finals is the only tournament that the ATP owns, "rather than licensing out to local operators." So the fact that Tournament Managing Dir Chris Kermode has "made it highly profitable will surely be a key point when the contract comes up for renegotiation next year." The existing deal expires at the end of '15, and there "has been interest" from Rio, N.Y. and the Far East "in taking over" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/5). Djokovic said, "I think it should not be held in one city for more than three years. That's my opinion because this is the tournament of the eight best players in the world and this is the tournament which is not fixed for one city or one country. It is in the ATP's hands. I know various players share the same opinion because of the promotion of tennis, popularising the sport in a place where maybe tennis isn't as popular. If we are looking to expand the consciousness about our sport, then we should look into that." REUTERS' Martyn Herman noted London initially was "given the event for four years" starting in '09 when it was renamed the ATP World Tour Finals. But it will stay in the city through '15 because its staging at the O2 Arena has been "so successful" in terms of crowds and revenue (REUTERS, 11/4).
IF IT AIN'T BROKE...: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tournament Dir Andre Silva said staying in the U.K. past '15 is "definitely" a possibility. He added, "The tournament is a very important part of the business of the ATP. More important than exposing everyone around the world to it is making sure it's healthy and not an experiment." Tennis player Roger Federer said, "I must agree with Andre in many ways because I think it's important that this event is played in a place that knows tennis. I think it's good sometimes to play Shanghai, or maybe Lisbon or Sydney for a year, but I think it's not long enough in one place to put its roots down." He added, "If the numbers make sense, if the excitement of everybody involved makes sense, I think we should keep it here." Former ATP Properties CEO Richard Davies said that London was "'twice as successful' in monetary value for the ruling body than other host cities" (CNN.com, 11/4). In London, Neil Harman writes moving the event "makes no sense, not least for those Europeans who dominate the present rankings." A record 263,000 people attended the event last year, and as of last night 255,000 had "already guaranteed their attendance this year" (LONDON TIMES, 11/5).The BBC's Russell Fuller writes the tournament has "embraced an atmospheric and futuristic home" in the O2 Arena. The elements "conspire against outdoor events in tennis's key markets in November." London does "a remarkable job in selling 17,500 seats for a large majority of the sessions." Tennis player Tomas Berdych said that entering the arena is "on a par with walking onto Wimbledon's Centre Court" (BBC.co.uk, 11/5). CNN.com's Will Edmonds wrote as a tennis fan, "nothing compares" to the tournament. Every resource is "used to create a rock concert atmosphere, with great music, pyrotechnics and lasers aplenty" (CNN.com, 11/4).
CUP RUNNETH OVER: A USTA official yesterday confirmed that Petco Park "will host a first-round Davis Cup match" between the U.S. and Great Britain from Jan. 31-Feb. 2. In San Diego, Don Norcross cites a USTA source as saying that the organization "will play the match on slow, red clay." The court is "expected to be laid out from left field to center field with temporary seats brought in opposite the left-field bleachers." San Diego last hosted a Davis Cup match in February '06 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/5).