Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 7 No. 149

Events and Attractions

Alexander Zverev won the 2018 ATP Finals in London.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Alexander Zverev won the 2018 ATP Finals in London.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Alexander Zverev won the 2018 ATP Finals in London.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Singapore is bidding to host the $8.5M ATP Finals -- the season-ending tournament for men's tennis -- from '21, according to YAHOO NEWS SINGAPORE. Sport Singapore, the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Sports Hub said in a joint statement on Wednesday, "We have expressed our interest to bring the Nitto ATP Finals to Singapore. This is part of our continued efforts to look out for suitable world-class events that can inspire the enjoyment of sport here, and add to our vibrancy and attractiveness as a sport and lifestyle destination. The Singapore Sports Hub is a world class venue and choice for such events." The move comes after Singapore "said goodbye to the WTA Finals" in October, having hosted the $7M event for the past five years. The tournament is moving to Shenzhen next year, with a prize purse of $14M. The ATP Finals were first held in Tokyo in '70, and have since been played in cities including Paris, Melbourne, N.Y. and Shanghai. Since '09, the event has taken place in London's O2 Arena (YAHOO NEWS SINGAPORE, 11/28). In Singapore, Low Lin Fhoong reported while sports marketing experts and analysts "welcomed" Singapore's bid for the ATP Finals, they also "sounded a cautioning note on the commercial viability of bringing in the tournament." Marketing agency ESG Singapore Exec Dir of Sports David Sim said that it would be "really challenging if you look at the profit and loss." Agency Red Card Global Managing Dir R. Sasikumar "questioned if Singapore has a large enough fan base to fill the stadium year on year." Sasikumar: "We've seen it with the WTA Finals. Over time, the interest kind of whittled down" (TODAY ONLINE, 11/28).

Arsenal’s Europa League Thursday match against Vorskla Poltava was relocated to Kiev because of "security concerns" following Ukraine's decision to impose martial law "amid rising tensions with Russia," according to Sam Dean of the London TELEGRAPH. UEFA’s emergency panel announced the change of venue just 48 hours before the game was scheduled to kick off in Poltava, a Ukrainian city more than 200 miles to the east of Kiev. Instead of being held in the Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium, which holds 25,000 spectators, the game will now take place in Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, the 70,000-seat venue for last season’s Champions League final. UEFA's decision comes 24 hours after the governing body "insisted that the game would go ahead as planned despite the political unease." UEFA's concerns over security "have been triggered" by the Ukrainian parliament voting to impose martial law in parts of the country following the "dramatic rise in tensions" with Russia last weekend (TELEGRAPH, 11/27). In London, Matt Hughes reported Arsenal has been liaising with UEFA, Vorskla and the Foreign Office since the weekend, "with all parties determined that the group E game should go ahead," but UEFA took the decision on Tuesday night after receiving updated security advice. Poltava is not within a designated area of martial law but "concerns were raised due to its position in the east of the country and proximity to areas of heightened tension" (LONDON TIMES, 11/28).

Novak Djokovic is among players asking the IOC to review eligibility rules ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Novak Djokovic is among players asking the IOC to review eligibility rules ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Novak Djokovic is among players asking the IOC to review eligibility rules ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The "beleaguered" Int'l Tennis Federation is "facing more pressure over the controversial Davis Cup reforms," with Novak Djokovic leading a group of players in calling on the IOC to review eligibility rules for Tokyo 2020, according to Stuart Fraser of the LONDON TIMES. As the ITF manages the Olympic tennis event, players are "only eligible if they are part of a nominated Davis Cup team and present at the tie on a minimum of three occasions" -- one must be in '19 or '20 -- during the four-year cycle between Olympic Games. This is regarded as a "significant card that the ITF can play in order to ensure a strong field" at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals in Madrid next year. If players do not appear, they "run the risk of being regarded as ineligible to compete in Tokyo." There is a "growing belief within the locker room that this is unfair," particularly when the amount of Davis Cup ties has been "drastically reduced." A potential maximum of six opportunities between now and the Olympic entry deadline of June '20 is "down to three after the introduction of the new format." Sources insist that there is "no suggestion at this point" of an organized boycott of the Davis Cup or the Olympics (LONDON TIMES, 11/27).

'LOYAL TENNIS COMMUNITY': In Adelaide, Jesper Fjeldstad reported Lleyton Hewitt will return to Memorial Drive for the first time as Davis Cup captain, with Australia hosting Bosnia & Herzegovina in a qualifier on Feb. 1 and 2. Tennis Australia will resurface a center court for the event and also "put up temporary stands bigger than those used in the World Tennis Challenge," with the expected capacity for the Davis Cup tie around 5,000. The tie was made possible by the stage one redevelopment of the drive, which means the venue now has practice courts that conform with ITF requirements. The court will also be extended so that it meets requirements for the distance between the baseline and the back of the court -- "something that has been a hurdle for Memorial Drive in the past when it comes to sanctioned top level tennis" (THE ADVERTISER, 11/28).