ATP Tennis Masters Cup Creates Men’s Tennis Legacy In China For Future
Shanghai, China - As Shanghai’s Qi Zhong Stadium prepares to host the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup final, latest figures have shown that more than four million people in China have taken up tennis since the first Tennis Masters Cup was held in Shanghai in 2004. Featuring the world’s best eight singles players and eight doubles teams, the Tennis Masters Cup is the ATP World Tour’s season finale and is currently being held in Shanghai for the fifth time.
As part of next season’s wide ranging changes to the ATP calendar, Shanghai will join eight other world cities in hosting an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, the new top tier of events on the ATP World Tour. Set to feature the world’s top players in a 56-draw for singles, the Shanghai Masters 1000 will be the finale to a new three week Asian swing of the ATP World Tour that will also visit Bangkok, Tokyo and Beijing. As well as the existing Qi Zhong Stadium, a Grand Stand court seating 5000 people will be completed by August 2009.
The participation figures, compiled by the Chinese Tennis Authority (CTA), show that the number of people playing tennis has risen to 8.12 million since 2004, in part inspired by having international tennis events, such as Tennis Masters Cup, staged in China. In addition, the growth in popularity of tennis has seen one million children join CTA development programs since 2004.
The growth of tennis as a sport has been mirrored by the success of the Tennis Masters Cup since its first year in Shanghai in 2002, when it was the biggest international sporting event ever held in China at the time. Almost 500,000 spectators have watched the tournament during its five years of staging, in addition to millions of people worldwide on television. To build on this success, the ATP will launch a Chinese language version of the ATP web site - ATPWorldTour.com.cn - in early 2009. Already the world’s most popular tennis web site, ATPTennis.com, to become ATPWorldTour.com in 2009, enjoyed 80 million visits in 2008. With China having the world’s highest number of internet users - currently 253 million - this number is expected to rise significantly in 2009.
Brad Drewett, Tournament Director of Tennis Masters Cup and ATP International CEO said: “We have had an unbelievably successful five Tennis Masters Cup events held in Shanghai and a strong legacy for the sport of tennis has been created in Shanghai and in China. The success of tennis in China is testament to the hard work and support of all involved in the sport in China and to the team that has put together the most successful Tennis Masters Cup. Next season will see the men’s professional game taken to the next level, with a new ATP World Tour Asian swing concluding in Shanghai that will feature all of the world’s best players. The success of tennis in China is clear and we look forward to a very successful next few years in Shanghai.”
Mr. Yu Chen, Director of Shanghai Administration of Sports, Managing Deputy Director of Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai Organizing Committee, said: “Shanghai people have learned and experienced more deeply about the charm of tennis through the Masters Cup, and the tennis market here in Shanghai has been well developed with more people loving the sport, and more facilities established, Shanghai has been named as a ‘Tennis City’. All these are related to the successful holding of Tennis Masters Cup here.”
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