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Novak Djokovic Urges ATP Finals Relocation

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Former world No.1 Novak Djokovic has called for the ATP World Tour Finals to be moved to other countries to help boost men’s tennis to a wider audience.

 

The multi-million dollar tournament has been held at the O2 Arena in London since 2009. Last year a deal was struck to keep the season-ending finals in the same place until at least 2020. Making it the longest time the ATP Finals have been hosted in the same city since New York held the event between 1977-1989.

Following his second round win over Gael Monfils, Djokovic has hailed London as a ‘great success’ in holding the tournament. Although he believes that the governing body of the sport is being too safe if comes to staging the event, which began in 1970.

“This is the biggest event that ATP has. I think it’s probably the biggest asset.” Said Djokovic.
“London has always been the safest option, I would say, because of obviously different reasons and history. But I think it should be exploited a little bit more. It should be leveraged more because of the promotion of our sport.
“ If we want to grow our sport, especially in regions like China or those parts of the world where tennis is popular, I think we should think about it, just maybe travel it a little bit more.”

The comments come on the same day it was announced that Shenzhen will host the WTA Finals from 2019 onwards. The women’s equivalent of the event. A record breaking 10-year deal has been struck with the total prize money doubling to $14 million. Under the agreement a new state-of-the-art venue will be built in the Chinese city with a seating capacity for 12,000 people.

The historic hike means that unless the ATP up their funding, the women will earn more during the end-of-year tournament. Not commenting on the pay gap between genders, Djokovic has stated his support for the breakthrough in women’s tennis.

“That’s a big success for WTA, for all the female players. They deserve it. No doubt about it. They fight to have the best possible tour for them.” He said.
“The World Tour Finals is, both men’s and women’s, the biggest asset we have in the sport that WTA and ATP control, can leverage on the market.”

As to where the men’s event could move to in the future, Djokovic has backed the potential idea of moving it to China. China has invested millions into tennis within recent years to establish their country as a key market for the sport. The country now hosts a string of key ATP and WTA events, including one of the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.

“Men’s tennis is picking up (in China) as well,” he said.
“We also have some big events there that they are doing very well. Obviously they have great facilities. The Chinese economy is obviously doing great. They love tennis. They put a lot of money into tennis.”

It remains unclear as to what will happen to the ATP Finals beyond 2020.

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ATP Cup Draw Ceremony to be held on Friday in Melbourne

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be in the spotlight at the second edition of the ATP Cup from 1 to 5 February 2021. The Draw Ceremony of the second edition of the ATP Cup will be held on Friday 22 January 2021 at 12 pm AEDT. 

 

The other stars will be Andrey Rublev (five-time titlist on the ATP Tour in 2020), the winners of the past three editions of the ATP Finals (Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danil Medvedev), 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem, 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov. The 2021 ATP Cup will feature 14 of the top 15 players in the ATP Ranking.  

Todd Woodbridge (winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles), Mark Philippousis (former Wimbledon and US Open finalist) and John Fitzgerald will conduct the draw ceremony. 

The draw will be broadcast on the ATP Cup’s official Facebook page. Fans will be able to follow the ceremony from around the world. Commentators Jim Courier and Mark Petchey will also feature. Official Martin Oosthuysen and ATP Cup Tournament Director Tom Larner wlll oversse proceedings.

The 12 teams will be divided into four round-robin groups of three each. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals. 

Each tie will be comprised of two singles matches and one doubles match. The country that wins two matches will take the tie. Singles will be the best of three tie-break sets. Doubles will feature No-Ad scoring and a Match Tie-break instead of a third set.

The number 1 players and the team captains: 

Serbia: Novak Djokovic, Viktor Troicki

Spain: Rafael Nadal, Pepe Vendrell

Austria: Dominic Thiem, Wolfgang Thiem

Russia: Danil Medvedev, Evgeny Donskoy

Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Apostolos Tsitsipas

Germany: Alexander Zverev, Misha Zverev

Argentina: Diego Schwartzman 

Italy: Matteo Berrettini, Vincenzo Santopadre

Japan: Kei Nishikori, Max Mirnyi

France: Gael Monfils, Richard Ruckelshausen

Canada: Denis Shapovalov, Peter Polansky

Australia: Alex De Minaur, Lleyton Hewitt

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Ashleigh Barty and Jannik Sinner join super field at “A Day at the Drive” exhibition event in Adelaide

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World number 1 Ashleigh Barty and 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner have joined a star-studded field at the exhibition tournament named “A Day at the Drive”, which will be held at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre in Adelaide on Friday 29 January 2021.

 

The Adelaide event will feature 2020 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem, three-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and 23-time Grand Slam legend Serena Williams, who are spending their mandatory 14-day quarantine in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open. 

Adelaide will launch the Australian summer of tennis before the ATP Cup and the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

Barty has not played an official match since losing her semifinal against Petra Kvitova in Doha last February shortly before the outbreak of the global pandemic. The Australian star won the title at the inaugural edition of the Adelaide WTA tournament last year. 

“I am looking forward to playing my first match of the 2021 season in Adelaide. I have fond memories from the Adelaide International last year and i twill be great to get back on court here for “A Day at the Drive”, said Ashleigh Barty. The Australian Open has been delayed until 8 February 2021. The Melbourne Park will host warm-events one week before the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. 

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Roger Federer should make his come-back in Doha, according to Richard Krajicek

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Roger Federer is expected to make his come-back at the Qatar Exxon Mobil tournment on outdoor hardcourts in Doha from 8 to 13 March 2021, according to Rotterdam Tournament Director Richard Krajicek. 

 

Federer is currently training in Dubai, which is only 235 miles from Doha. The 20-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the Australian Open last month. 

“As far as I know, Roger will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam. If he is fit and ready, we will hear from him”, said Krajicek. 

Krajicek announced that Rafael Nadal will play in Rotterdam for the third time in his career next March. The former Dutch star still hopes to invite Federer, who claimed three titles in Rotterdam. 

Three years ago Federer became the oldest world number 1 at 36 after beating Robin Haase in the quarter final of the Rotterdam tournament and went on to win his 97th ATP Tour title by beating Grigor Dimitrov in the final. After undergoing the second knee surgery last May Federer decided to skip the rest of the 2020 season and returned to the court to train. He moved to Dubai to train in good weather conditions under the guidance of his coach Ivan Ljubicic, who was a former world number 3 player.

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