The city of Sao Paulo was chosen by the ATP to host the first edition of the ATP Challenger Tour Finals. The event will bring together the best players of the ATP Challenger Tour of the season in the week of November 14-20 at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera.
The initiative came from Koch Tavares through its president Luis Felipe Tavares, founder of the project ATP Challenger Tour Finals, which aims to strengthen the ATP Challenger Tour around the world. The ATP Challenger Tour consists of the tournaments leading up to the series of major tournaments of the ATP World Tour.
Tavares said: “It took us years of hard work and, after having organized many Challenger Tour events, we are finally going to have a world-class event for this circuit, much like what is already in place with the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Each and every top tennis player has played the Challenger Tour, which gives precious points to those who are battling to make it to the elite tournaments.”
Mark Young, ATP CEO, Americas, said: “The ATP is happy to launch this new event. The ATP Challenger Tour Finals is extremely important to the worldwide development of tennis.”
All the today's best players, such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci, amongst others, have played the ATP Challenger Tour tournaments, which served as a spring board for their careers on the ATP World Tour.
“The ATP Challenger Tour tournaments were very important to my career. Before I started playing the tournaments on the ATP World Tour, Masters 1000 [events] and Grand Slams, I played the ATP Challenger tournaments which gave me experience and ranking to make a leap in my career”, remembers Bellucci, Brazil’s top ranked player. In 2008, Bellucci won four Challenger titles, three of them consecutively.
This first edition in Sao Paulo will feature the seven best players of the season on the ATP Challenger Tour and one wild card invited by the host country. The tournament will offer $US220,000 and South African Airways ATP Rankings points. The ATP Challenger Finals will precede the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
André Silva, ATP Chief Player Officier, said: "It is an important part of the tennis calendar, since the Challenger Tour events are the ones that feed the ATP Tour with stars. Without them, the top players would never have reached this status.”
Jorge Pagura, Secretary of Sports of the State of Sao Paulo, said: “The ATP Challenger Tour Finals brings Sao Paulo back to the world of high-profile tennis events. The Ibirapuera arena will host the event after being completely refurbished, with a new court surface and a state-of-the-art lighting system. For us it is imperative to be related to this kind of event that somehow leaves a legacy for the city of Sao Paulo, as well as to work hand-in-hand with experienced, reliable partners such as Koch Tavares.”
Jorge Lacerda, President of the CBT (Brazilian Tennis Federation), said: “A tournament like the ATP Challenger Tour Finals is tremendously important for tennis. This year Brazil is set to host over 15 Challenger Tour events, and this new initiative strengthens this kind of event and brings a lot of value to Brazilian tennis.”