LONDON,. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were split yesterday over whether the season-ending ATP Finals should remain in London after 2020 as tennis chiefs consider where the event should be staged in future.
The ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, announced in August the opening of an international tender process to determine the future location of the season finale featuring the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams.
The event was first held in Tokyo in 1970 and has been staged in some of the world’s other major cities including New York, Sydney, and Shanghai.
Its longest stay in a single venue was across 13 consecutive editions at Madison Square Garden from 1977 to 1989 but it has been held at London’s O2 arena since 2009 — drawing more than 250,000 fans annually.
Federer, who has won the event a record six times, twice in London, said the British capital was the perfect fit.
“If they stay I think it’s definitely a good choice,” said the Swiss. “I don’t know what the options are. I think the options clearly are also important to look at.”
“It’s been a great formula here,” he added. “I’ve enjoyed playing in a city that knows tennis very well and has got a strong media following as well. It’s been a good place for us to play to showcase our talents.”
But world number one Djokovic, who has won the event five times — four times in London — said he was in favour of moving the tournament around to promote the sport.
“I don’t want it to move from London,” he said. “I just feel the concept of this event should be the one that travels. This event is the biggest event that the ATP owns and you have the best eight players in the world in a unique format, a round-robin system.”
“I just feel like this is a great leverage, an opportunity to promote tennis all around the world,” he added, suggesting it could move around every few years.
“I just feel maybe 10 years in one place is a bit too much and not because of London and not because of anything to do with this event,” the Serb said
“It is a great success here and I personally have had phenomenal success so I should be the last one talking about moving it anywhere because I enjoy it.” — AFP