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ATP Finals tenure in London set to end in 2020

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 18 Apr 2019
  • ATP Finals unlikely to stay in London past 2020
  • Turin or Tokyo have emerged as leading candidates for new host city
Novak Djokovic takes to the courts at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals (PA Sport)

The ATP Finals look set to relocate from London to another country in 2021.

Multiple British newspapers are reporting that the Nitto ATP Finals will no longer be held in London after the current hosting agreement expires in 2020.

London's O2 Arena has been the venue for the ATP Tour's season-ending championships, which features the eight best singles players and doubles teams of the year, since 2009 and will be played there until 2020.

Alexander Zverev with the Nitto ATP Finals trophy in 2018 (PA Sport)
There has been no official announcement that the tournament is relocating, but The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail are all reporting that 2020 is likely to be the last year that the ATP Finals is played in London.

The ATP Tour released the shortlist of cities being considered as new hosts in mid-December, after a list of over 40 cities was whittled down to five: London, Manchester, Singapore, Tokyo and Turin.

Apparently it's Turin and Tokyo that have emerged as leading candidates to be the new host city of the ATP Finals, with ATP executives having ruled out an extension to London's hosting agreement.

The ATP Finals, previously called the ATP World Tour Finals, moved to London from Shanghai in 2009 with Chris Kermode as tournament director, and have been widely considered to be a great success at the O2 Arena. More than 250,000 fans have attended annually and the Telegraph reports that the tournament contributes about 15% of the ATP Tour's revenues. 

Kermode went on to become ATP Tour President and Chief Executive in 2014, but the ATP Tour board voted against extending his contract in March, a decision widely seen as engineered by world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in his role as president of the ATP Player Council.

Djokovic has been keen in the past for the ATP Finals to be relocated, saying, ‘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.

Kermode applauds as Djokovic receives his runner-up trophy in 2018 (PA Sport)
‘I just feel like this is a great leverage, an opportunity to promote tennis all around the world. I just feel maybe ten years in one place is a bit too much and not because of London and not because of anything to do with this event.

‘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.’

All but one of Djokovic's five ATP Tour titles have come during the tournament's tenure at London's O2 Arena.

The Telegraph reports that Turin could be willing to offer an annual guarantee of 15 million Euros if the tournament locates to the city. Italy already hosts the Next Gen ATP Finals, which take place the week before the ATP Finals and are set to stay in Milan until at least 2021.

What Italy doesn't have is a star player who can guarantee home interest as Andy Murray used to be able to do at the ATP Finals. That's a boon for Tokyo's chances, because they have Kei Nishikori, a regular fixture at the ATP Finals, but the city's location is against it - players are unlikely to be enthusiastic about returning to Asia after the big events of late October and early November in Europe, with the new-look Davis Cup Finals also to be played in Europe.

Wherever the new home of the ATP Finals turns out to be, it will have to live up to high standards created by the London iteration of the event, which has felt a bit stale in recent years but reliably packed the O2 Arena full for the most seemingly unpromising sessions.

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ATP Finals tenure in London set to end in 2020

Reports suggest that the Nitto ATP Finals will no longer staged at London's O2 Arena after 2020, with Tokyo and Turin among leading contenders to host the season-ending tournament

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