INSIDE MEN'S TENNIS 2013
Inside Men's Tennis By Brad Drewett - February 2013 Edition
by Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President|
It has been another fantastic start to the ATP World Tour season, and I am sure you have been enjoying all the great tennis we have seen over the last two months.
2013 is a very special year for us as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings, which first began in August 1973. The rankings have formed the core foundations of our sport over the past four decades – a true marker through which excellence is measured and greatness defined in men’s professional tennis.
This week, in Dubai, we have just launched the ATP Heritage campaign, an initiative which will provide us with an on-going platform, for 2013 and future years to celebrate the history of the ATP, tournament and player milestones, the Emirates ATP Rankings, and the remarkable achievements of our amazing athletes throughout our 40 year history. In particular, there will be an increased focus on the Emirates ATP Rankings, and the incredible achievement it is to finish the year as ATP World Tour No. 1. Since the rankings began 40 years ago, only 16 players can lay claim to that achievement. Those numbers tell you what a rare and defining achievement it is in our sport, and the ATP Heritage campaign will highlight and capture its unique value as one of the game's prize assets in years ahead.
The campaign will encompass a number of different promotional initiatives throughout 2013, headlined by a special celebration event in New York where we will invite all former year-end ATP World Tour No.1s to attend ahead of the US Open
We all speak of the how the depth of talent on the ATP World Tour has never been greater, with a golden generation of players taking the game to new heights and consistently excelling on the biggest stages across the Tour. Yet our sport would not be where it is today without the great champions of the past. I firmly believe that one of our greatest assets is our heritage, one that should be cherished and celebrated which, in turn, will continue to serve and benefit our sport in years to come.
In Dubai I was happy to also be able to present the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with its ninth ATP World Tour 500 tournament award, as voted by the players. Nine out of 10 years is an incredible effort.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters (ATP World Tour Masters 1000) and the Skistar Swedish Open (ATP World Tour 250) were also again voted as the most favoured tournaments by players on the ATP World Tour in their respective tournament categories.
In the case of each tournament, the pursuit of excellence is undiminished with the Shanghai Rolex Masters capturing the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 award in each of its first four years as a Masters 1000 event (2009-12). And the Skistar Swedish Open continues to excel in the ATP World Tour 250 category, triumphing for a remarkable 11th consecutive year (2002-12).
These tournaments have raised the bar in their facilities, operations, service to players, and their drive to continue to be the best. They are part of what makes the ATP World Tour so strong today.
But it is our leading players who capture the imagination of fans worldwide with their incredible performances on court. The start of this season has been no different. Tennis fans worldwide will be particularly pleased to see the return of Rafa Nadal. After a seven-month absence due to injury, Rafa’s return to competitive action on the ATP World Tour is terrific news for men's professional tennis. Rafa has developed a huge worldwide fan-base throughout his career, achieving iconic status in the game and truly transcending his own sport.
His return to action has generated heightened global media interest, as well as increased fan following at our events in South America, which are fantastic events in their own right. I’d like to wish Rafa all the best as he continues his return from injury and, after seven months on the sidelines, what an amazing achievement it is for him to have already captured an ATP title, in Sao Paolo.
Congratulations also to Novak Djokovic who successfully defended his Australian Open title, consolidating his No. 1 position in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Novak was outstanding at Melbourne Park winning his fourth title there and he will be the player to beat at the two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in North America in March, Indian Wells (BNP Paribas Open) and Miami (Sony Open Tennis).
On a personal note, I am grateful for the enormous support I have received regarding my health, having recently been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I have been deeply moved by the heartfelt wishes of so many within in the tennis family.
I look forward to continuing to contribute to our amazing sport and I hope you all enjoy the world class entertainment on offer this season on the ATP World Tour.