Big-money tennis season finale set to leave London’s O2 Arena as Turin battles to host ATP Tour World Finals
- Britain is expected to lose one of its best attended sports events after 2020
- ATP Tour World Finals are set to leave London’s O2 Arena after over a decade
- Turin and Tokyo will contest to take over as host city from 2021 onwards
- ATP are said to have received financial guarantees from the Italian federation
Britain is set to lose one of its best attended sports events with November’s ATP Tour World Finals expected to leave London.
Turin is the unlikely favourite to take over as host to the season’s top eight male singles players and doubles teams, with an announcement expected this month.
The O2 Arena has been a hugely successful host for the event since 2009, with annual crowds of around 250,000 over the week putting it comfortably in the top 10 of biggest aggregate crowds in this country.
The ATP Tour World Finals are expected to leave London for either Turin or Tokyo in 2021
The battle to host the season-end finale from 2021 onwards has come down to a contest between Turin and Tokyo, with the Italian bid in the driving seat despite fears over the state of the country’s economy.
Although Italy’s best player, Fabio Fognini, is only an outside bet to ever make the field, it has several things in its favour. The tour winds up every November with events in Europe — the Paris Masters being the last regular stop — and Turin would avoid a long-haul trip for the players to the Far East.
The ATP are also said to have received financial guarantees from the Italian federation, backed by municipal funding, of around €75million (£65m) over five years. The alpine city’s Pala Alpitour would be the new venue, with a capacity of around 15,000.
The O2 Arena has benefited from the era of the Big Four but Andy Murray’s future participation looks unlikely, even though he posted a video of himself playing golf this week and swinging comfortably through his hip.
Novak Djokovic (right) congratulates Alexander Zverev on his victory in last year’s final
Historically the year-end finals have always moved around, and the stay in London — still guaranteed for two more years — was longer than expected.
Meanwhile in Monte Carlo, British No 2 Cameron Norrie made light of only arriving from Houston on Friday night to score a good win on his debut in this event, beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3.
Novak Djokovic received a code violation for smashing his racket en route to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Afterwards the Serb was asked about a far-fetched recent suggestion from compatriot Janko Tipsarevic that the Grand Slams might one day move from their current venues.
‘Everything in life is possible,’ ventured Djokovic, before adding: ‘They’re over 120-plus years old, and we of course have to respect the history and tradition and everything.’
Cristiano Ronaldo was among the big names who attended the London event last year
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