ATP 250 Thailand Open Sold To Shenzhen, China Following Decline In Local Tennis Interest
Thailand Open officials confirmed on Thursday that falling spectator numbers and a "general decline in local tennis interest" since the '07 retirement of Paradorn Srichaphan have "killed" the event, with the ATP 250 event sold to organizers in Shenzhen, China, according to the DPA. The move to the metropolis "just across the border from Hong Kong comes after 11 editions in Bangkok and takes effect immediately" for the event to be staged in the last week of Sept. '14. The Thailand Open had been "steadily declining over recent editions, with organisers finding it increasingly difficult to attract world-class players" (DPA, 11/21). ... EUROSPORT's Marcus Foley reported the new tournament will be held from Sept. 22-28 at the Shenzhen Longgang Sports Center. ATP Exec VP Alison Lee said, "China has long been a growing market for men's professional tennis and we're delighted to strengthen our presence in the region through the addition of this ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Shenzhen." The move means that "China becomes the first country" outside the U.S. to host ATP World Tour 250, 500 and Masters 1000 events (EUROSPORT, 11/21).