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Manchester, Singapore, Tokyo and Turin join London on shortlist for ATP Finals host city from 2021

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 14 Dec 2018
  • The ATP have announced the final shortlist of cities bidding to host the ATP Finals
  • London's O2 Arena will host the tournament through 2020
  • Manchester, Singapore, Toyko and Turin join London on shortlist
Alexander Zverev with the trophy after the final of the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Manchester, Singapore, Tokyo and Turin are competing with London to host the ATP Finals from 2021.

The ATP announced the shortlist of cities in contention to host its season-ending championships once the current deal with London expires. 

London’s O2 Arena has been the venue for the ATP’s year-end tournament since 2009 and will be held there through 2020. 

Over 40 cities worldwide have expressed an interest in hosting the next phase of the ATP Finals’ existence from 2021-25. Through an ‘extensive’ bid application process, which is being managed by the ATP and the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, the applicants have been whittled down to a final shortlist of five cities, announced by the ATP on Friday 14 December.

Roger Federer has won the ATP Finals a record six times  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Manchester, England; Singapore; Tokyo, Japan and Turin, Italy join London on the shortlist of candidate cities to host the ATP Finals from 2021-25. 

The season-ending tournament, formerly known as the World Tour Finals, has a history stretching back to 1970. It’s been played in many different cities including Paris, Barcelona, Melbourne and New York, and been known by different names but its basic premise has remained the same: An event which features the very best in men’s tennis competing against each other. 

Since 1986, the tournament has featured eight players who face off in two round-robin groups of four, with the top two players in each group progressing to the semifinals.

The ATP Finals moved from Shanghai to London in 2009, with Shanghai instead hosting one of the ATP Tour’s nine Masters 1000 Series events. Roger Federer is the all-time title leader at the ATP Finals, having won it six times between 2003 and 2011, with Novak Djokovic winning the title five times between 2008 and 2015. Recent winners include Andy Murray (2016), Grigor Dimitrov (2017) and Alexander Zverev (2018). 

Manchester attempted to become the new host of the WTA’s season-ending championships recently but lost out to Shenzhen in China, which will host the WTA Finals from 2019 after the event’s tenure in Singapore ended.

Singapore are now among the final shortlist of candidates for the ATP Finals from 2021, while Tokyo is likely to be a very strong contender should the tournament move from London: Nitto, who became the title sponsor of the ATP Finals in 2018, are a Japanese company. Two of the ATP’s top players, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori, are also sponsored by Japanese company Uniqlo. Tokyo, like London, already hosts a 500-level ATP event. 

Opinion is divided among players as to whether the tournament should move from London, where the event has enjoyed a successful tenure. 

Federer is among those who argue the ATP Finals should stay in London unless there is a compelling reason to move it. 

‘I think if they stay it’s definitely a good choice,’ Federer told the media ahead of his sixteenth appearance at the ATP Finals in November, where he ultimately made the semifinals.

‘I don’t know what the options are. But if the O2’s happy and the crowds keep flocking and coming to this venue and the Tour has a good deal, obviously why not stay here?

‘I don’t see a reason to change, unless there is somebody else, a city that really wants it badly and is willing to come in and really support the Tour in a major way for many years, like what we saw with Shanghai and also maybe with London in the beginning. It’s been a winning formula here.’

Djokovic has advocated for a new location for the ATP Finals  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Djokovic, on the other hand, has advocated for moving the tournament.

‘I don’t want it to move from London,’ Djokovic said in November. ‘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.

‘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.’

The ATP decision-makers will visit the five candidate cities ‘to further review their respective visions for the ATP Finals’, with a final decision to be expected in March 2019.

ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said:

‘The level of interest we have received worldwide throughout the bid application process reflects the rich heritage of this unique tournament, as well as the success of the event at The O2 since 2009. It has been a highly competitive process, and the candidate cities on the shortlist deserve huge credit for the passion and creative vision they have shown in their respective plans to continue the growth of our showpiece event.

‘The ATP Finals have never stood still, remaining vibrant and relevant to fans, sponsors and media worldwide at every turn. There’s no question that London has set a very high benchmark and, with the final shortlist announced today, we believe we will be well-placed to determine the next exciting chapter of a tournament that has come to represent the absolute pinnacle in men’s professional tennis.’

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Manchester, Singapore, Tokyo and Turin join London on shortlist for ATP Finals host city from 2021

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