Some time ago I heard my countryman, El Mafioso for GMers, Ion Tiriac (Madrid license holder), saying that the chinese offensive over big stage tennis is growing stronger.
They already have the biggest ATP500 tourney (Beijing) and one ATP1000 - Shanghai.
Seeing the money they put into Beijing, it is not such a far-fetched idea that, in 10-12 years time, we could have a 5th grand slam in China.
Can ATP and ITF resist to such a big amount of pressure from the market? (as of this year, 6.6 million $ for the Beijing combined event and the biggest prizes for an ATP1000 event, and I'm sure the prize amounts will keep on rising).
Maybe it will not be a "de jure
" (so it will begin only as a "de facto
" 5th biggest event on tour) grand slam from the start, but what can someone (ATP, ITF) do if the chinese will pay USOpen-like ? All the players will fly to Shanghai (or Beijing) and will do their best to get the big prize. And, slowly but certainly, ATP will have to comply and increase Beijing's status on tour. The first step would be to have a 2 weeks event (a la Indian Wells and Miami) and from there on it will be only one more thing to do...convincing the ATP to double the amount of points awarded for their event.
It is what I think Tiriac sugested in that interview...and his dream would be, I also believe, to be one step ahead of the chinese federation, with his Madrid combined event (imho Tiriac and Madrid stand no chance to become the 5th GS, even if they will change the date, but the chinese can do it)...
What do u think , guys ?
It is the first time that I saw on an Atp event's website something as "proposed practice schedule":
I think the chinese are doing everything by the book and, with the help of their booming economy, they will be the 5th force in tennis very soon (and this doesn't mean England, France and Australia will have smth over them, only the USofA are untouchable right now in terms of tour events and venues).