Chris Kermode
3 minute read
12 Apr 2014
12:19 pm

ATP season poised for more excitement

Chris Kermode

Just three months into the 2014 ATP World Tour, and with two of our biggest events in Indian Wells and Miami behind us, the season is perfectly poised and shaping up as one of the most interesting in recent memory.

The likes of Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic can each aspire to the greatest of ambitions for the remainder of the year, as players battle for ATP Rankings points in the battle to qualify for the season-ending World Tour Finals, and the ultimate prize of finishing as World Tour No 1.

With 61 tournaments in 30 countries on the ATP World Tour, one of our strengths is our global footprint. February and March saw ATP World Tour tournaments take place across four different continents – in the Middle East, Europe, South America and North America – with each event boasting its own set of unique characteristics and charm.

The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells deserves a special mention. It is imperative our events move with the times and grow in stature year after year. Indian Wells is leading the way in that regard.

They have made some huge investments to their infrastructure, including a new 8 000-seater second stadium, and now boast facilities that are second to none.

The event really is something special, as our players and a record 430 000 fans who attended the event can attest. The exciting part is that they still have room to grow. As a governing body, it goes without saying that the more we can do to let our biggest events fly, and encourage wealthy entrepreneurs such as Larry Ellison, owner of the Indian Wells event, to be involved in our sport, the better.

On the court, Djokovic stole the headlines with a remarkable Indian Wells-Miami double, sweeping the ATP March Madness for the second time in his career. The Serb becomes only the second player in history, behind Federer, to achieve that feat.

Our current generation of players continues to raise the bar and set records thatwill likely stand the test of time. The Tour also saw a significant development take place in February, with Rio de Janeiro hosting the first ever ATP World Tour 500 event held in South America.

The Jockey Club in Rio provided a spectacular setting for the new event, and the passionate Brazilian fans were not left disappointed, with world No 1 Nadal capturing the title with a win over Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final.

The ATP has been delighted to welcome a world-famous city like Rio de Janeiro to the attractive list of destinations that feature on the Tour. The opportunities for growth for the Tour in an emerging market like Latin America are very exciting. We’ve seen some interesting developments in the last couple of years alone, including the addition of an ATP World Tour 250 event in Bogota, Colombia. There is a huge passion for tennis in the region.

Men’s tennis is driving the unprecedented popularity and commercial success of the sport today with superstar athletes, a thriving global platform of tournaments, and more fans and sponsors than ever.

The European clay court swing is now set to unfold at some of the most historic and prestigious venues on the Tour, such as Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Munich, Madrid, Rome and Nice. The clay court drama will no doubt provide further highlights to an already fascinating season.

Chris Kermode is the ATP executive chairman and president. Don’t miss Chris’ exclusive column in The Citizen.