Countdown To Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Begins
Cash unveiled a countdown timer that is programmed to release one tennis ball each day up until the event. The O2 arena will host the prestigious eight-day singles and doubles tournament, welcoming 240,000 fans to watch the world’s top eight players battle it out for the final South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings points of the year, and a chance to be crowned 2009 ATP World Tour Champion.
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, previously known as the Tennis Masters Cup, is moving to London after a four-year run in Shanghai. Now in its 40th year, the tournament has been hosted in some of the world’s most glamorous cities and been won by the biggest names in tennis, including Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Bjorn Borg.
The event is the climax of the ATP World Tour, where players gather ranking points from more than 60 tournaments, including the four Grand Slams, played throughout the year. The eight men who then finish with the most South African Airways ATP Rankings points at the end of the regular season qualify to compete at the circuit finale for a total prize of $5 million and for the chance to become the ATP World Tour Champion of the Year.
Cash, who qualified for and played at the tournament in 1987, said: “Qualifying for and competing in an event like this is a dream for any tennis player. It’s the chance to compete on the ultimate stage, battling the best of the best, and giving it your all. When I look back on my playing years, the Masters, as it was known then, was certainly a highlight. I’m definitely looking forward to catching the action here in London next year.”
Cash said that next year in London he expected to see British No. 1, Andy Murray, who qualified for the event for the first time this year in Shanghai. Murray posted wins over four-time champion Roger Federer, Gilles Simon and Andy Roddick in the round-robin stage before falling to Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals.
“It is such a unique event – it is the only tournament where fans are guaranteed to see the top eight guys playing each other every day,” said Murray. “After some great results this year, I was really pleased to have qualified for Shanghai and for me, it’s the perfect climax to the season. With the event moving to London next year I’m determined to try and qualify so that I can play in front of a British crowd at the O2 arena.”
The ATP will host the climax of the season with the support of the Wimbledon Championships and the Lawn Tennis Association, who are partners of the tournament. Chris Kermode, tournament managing director, said: “We are delighted to be bringing the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to London, and with the support of Wimbledon and the LTA we are confident of staging the type of world class event that tennis fans have become accustomed to here in London. This tournament will be a unique experience for fans, who will be guaranteed to see two of the top eight men on court at any one time and the opportunity to watch their favourite players under one roof. With approximately 67,000 tickets already spoken for through ticket pre-registration, the event is already bearing all the signs that it will become one of the must-see events in London of 2009.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson also added: "It's brilliant that the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals are moving here from 2009. London is the home of sport and tennis is already hugely popular, not least with me. Our aim is to drive up participation in the capital and hosting the great annual finale of the tennis season will further increase the sport's profile. As we approach the 2012 Games, it reinforces London's reputation for international sporting events and adds impetus to our work with the LTA to ensure that every child and young person in London has access to affordable, well-maintained tennis courts and high-quality coaching."
Ian Ritchie, CEO of the Wimbledon Championships, said: “We have partnered with the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals because we believe it important to showcase more elite level tennis in the UK. This is a great opportunity for Wimbledon fans to get another chance to see their favourite players battling it out on court in London.”
Philip Beard, Chairman Sponsorship and Sport, AEG Europe, owners and operators of The O2, said: “We are very proud to be hosting the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2009 because of the great heritage this tournament has – it’s been hosted in some of the world’s top venues and it’s fantastic that we will become a part of that history. The O2 is a great venue for watching live sport and will be unmissable for British tennis fans.”
Andrew Morton, Chief of Staff to the CMO, Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Banking said: “We are pleased to be marking the one year countdown to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which promises to be one of the most exciting sports events in 2009. At Barclays we have been involved in tennis, both at elite and grassroots level, for a number of years, and this event gives us the opportunity both to raise our profile on a global scale and to drive strong commercial benefit through the appeal of tennis to a significant portion of our Customers.”
Roger Draper, CEO of the LTA, said: “The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will be a truly inspirational event for tennis fans across the country. It provides another opportunity for sports fans to watch some of the very best athletes in the world competing and I have no doubt that the tournament will encourage people to pick up a racket themselves and start playing.”