Check out the awesome design of the new tennis Stadium (15,000 capacity) being built in Shanghai to host TMC 05->07 (www.atptennis.com
); i think this is definitely moving tennis in a positive direction
TENNIS MASTERS CUP
June 3, 2004
Tennis Masters Cup Returns to Shanghai in 2005
City Brings Season-ending Championship Back for Multi-year Deal
Tennis Masters Cup, the culminating event of the men's professional tournament season, will return to Shanghai, China for three years beginning in 2005. Following the huge success of the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai 2002, China's largest city won the right, after a six-month worldwide bidding process, to stage the season finale from 2005-2007.
The tournament, which is co-owned by the ATP, ITF and Grand Slams, will be staged at the new state-of-the-art Qi Zhong (pronounced Chi-Jong) Tennis Center. The tennis facility, which will become Asia's biggest, is being built on 80 acres in the Minghang district, 27 kilometers southwest of the city. The Tennis Center, due for completion in May 2005, will include a dual-purpose indoor-outdoor 15,000-seat center court and 40 indoor and outdoor courts.
The Tennis Masters Cup 2002 was the biggest professional sporting event China had ever hosted with the year's eight best players providing thrilling action for the enthusiastic sell-out crowds and millions of worldwide television viewers. Lleyton Hewitt defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in the final to win the coveted title and 2002 World No.1 crown.
Shanghai's time zone will be a boon for tennis in Asia but also for European tennis fans, who in 2002 were able to watch live matches during the morning and afternoon.
Televised to 146 countries and with broadcasters from China, South America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim, total cumulative audience for Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai in 2002 was 71 million. That rates as the highest audience reach for recent Tennis Master Cup events.
As in Houston in 2003 and 2004, the Tennis Masters Cup will feature the world's best eight singles players and best eight doubles teams. The INDESIT ATP Race winner and year-end World No. 1 has been crowned at the Tennis Masters Cup in each of the past four years.
"We are thrilled that Shanghai is hosting the Tennis Masters Cup again," said Mark Miles, CEO of the ATP. "The city went to great lengths to stage a spectacular world-class event in 2002 and as a direct result, tennis in China is booming. The popularity will only grow even more with having one of the world's most prestigious tennis events in Shanghai for the next three years."
"The ITF's Development Department has been very active not only in China but also in the entire Asia/Pacific region for many years and it is very gratifying for us to see the tremendous growth of tennis in that part of the world," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. "The Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai is a great platform for the top level of our sport in that region, attracting not only wider audiences but also important sponsorship relationships to tennis and this can only help the ITF as we prepare for the Tennis Event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing."
Tennis Masters Cup Tournament Director, Brad Drewett from the ATP, negotiated the multi-year deal with the Shanghai Administration of Sport and Shanghai Ba-shi Industrial Company, with the direct backing from the Shanghai Municipal Government. The Shanghai Ba-shi Industrial Company will be responsible for the marketing of the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai from 2005-2007 and is also funding a major junior development tennis program aimed at assisting talented junior players in China.
"The success of the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai 2002 proved Shanghai's capabilities in organizing international events and helped to elevate Shanghai's position in international circles," said Mr. Yang Xiaodu, Vice Mayor of Shanghai. "Consequently, tennis is developing very rapidly where increasing numbers of people play tennis and more young junior players are being cultivated. I think that Shanghai's tennis infrastructure was key in helping Shanghai to win the bid. I believe that under the leadership of the Shanghai Municipal Government, the National Administration of Sport, and with the support of all groups involved, we are guaranteed to make the 2005-2007 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai another great success."
"A great emphasis has been given to the development of junior tennis programs," said Mr. Jing Guo Xiang, President of the Shanghai Administration of Sport. "Shanghai Ba-shi has made a commitment to underwrite a major junior program since 2001, and currently has over 10 players training in Australia preparing for international play."
"We are particularly pleased to see the Tennis Masters Cup return to Shanghai in 2005," said Geoff Pollard,
Chairman, Australian Open. "The Asia Pacific region has enormous growth potential and the addition of the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai to the Australian Open in Melbourne should prove to be a catalyst for tennis to begin to fulfill its potential in this part of the world."
The 2004 Tennis Masters Cup is being held for the second year in Houston, Texas from November 13-21. The top eight players and top eight doubles team at the end of each year compete in a round robin format for US$4.45 million in prize money and the chance to end the year as World No. 1. Previous cities to host the Tennis Masters Cup have included Lisbon (2000), Sydney (2001), Shanghai (2002), and Houston (2003-2004). Shanghai has also hosted the Heineken Open since 2000, a favorite stop on the circuit for many of the professional players.