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Inside Men's Tennis By Brad Drewett - March Edition

Chairman's Message

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic claimed the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award for 2011.

Hello everyone.

What an incredible start to the year we have had already!

Since 2005, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have engaged in some of the most extraordinary matches, creating one of the most exciting rivalries we have witnessed in the history of the ATP World Tour.

And now, many believe the record-breaking and breathtaking 2012 Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Nadal was a clear sign that men’s professional tennis has moved to a level never witnessed before.

To cap it off, soon after that final Djokovic claimed the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award for 2011. Although it was Novak’s first time to win the award, it marked six of the last eight years, a tennis player has taken out the Sportsman award. Rafa won the previous year and Roger took out the award four years in a row in 2005-2008.

We have had great eras with Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, all modern pioneers, setting incredible standards.

There is no doubt we are now experiencing something unprecedented. Men’s tennis not only has the remarkable quartet of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray, there are also so many other great players, including David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro adding further depth and class to the game.

Factor in Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Ryan Harrison and Grigor Dimitrov, all of whom hail from different parts of the world, and it is clear that men’s tennis is in a robust state.

This week, we kick off the year’s first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in America in Indian Wells (BNP Paribas Open) and Miami (Sony Ericsson Open), where I am sure we will witness yet another intriguing chapter in our sport. All the top players will be there playing our rising stars, providing top entertainment for millions of fans.

Last year, nearly 700,000 people attended these two tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, surpassing the previous year’s record -breaking attendance. A number of our tournaments posted record attendances in 2011 and in total more than 4.3 million fans came to watch the world’s best play at ATP World Tour tournaments in 2011.

Through television, we dramatically increased worldwide exposure for the ATP World Tour, growing the audience by more than 45 percent.

And in London, for the third consecutive year, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals was a spectacular conclusion to the ATP year with 250,000 fans coming to The O2 arena to watch the tennis over eight days, and more than 70 million television viewers watching all the action, an increase of 21 per cent on the previous year.

The ATP World Tour now has a truly powerful, global platform generating enormous interest and opportunities.

Europe and North America continue to be our biggest and strongest markets. However, there is also incredible demand for our sport in other markets such as South America, Middle East, Asia and Russia.
This is particularly satisfying given the challenging economic climate.

Sponsorship, through newcomers such Moët & Chandon and Rio de Janeiro, continues to grow. We also have tremendous support through long-term partners such as Corona Extra, South African Airways, Ricoh, FedEx, Enel and Head.

In 2012, there is record prize money on offer on the ATP World Tour, and players will enjoy a longer off-season than ever before.

The ATP Challenger Tour also continues to thrive with 150 events offering competition to developing professional players.

It is obvious there is much to build on and to celebrate in men’s tennis. I am looking forward to the challenge to continue the ATP World Tour’s tremendous growth.

I hope you will all continue to enjoy the ATP World Tour and the thrilling entertainment it provides. You can follow us all season long at www.ATPWorldTour.com

Best wishes,

Brad

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