PARIS: Turin’s Pala Alpitour Stadium was named on Wednesday as the new venue for the ATP Finals from 2021 to 2025, drawing a line under London’s long tenure as host of the year-ending tournament.
Men’s governing body the ATP said in a statement on that Turin was picked ahead of Manchester, Singapore, Tokyo and London, marking the first time in the tournament’s 50-year history that it will be staged in Italy.
The Pala Alpitour, opened in 2005 for the Winter Olympics, is Italy’s largest indoor sporting arena, with a seating capacity of 12,350.
“Italy provides us with one of the strongest and most established tennis markets in Europe and has a proven track record for hosting world class tennis events,” Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said in a statement.
The event features the world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams and offered $8.5 million in prize money last year, when Alexander Zverev stunned Djokovic to win the title.
“We look forward to bringing the ATP’s flagship season-ending event to tennis’s growing fan-base in Italy for the first time,” Briton Kermode added.
Milan has hosted the Next Gen Finals for the top eight players aged 21 and under for the past two years, while Rome hosts a Masters 1000 clay court event in May in the buildup to the French Open.
Turin has a hard act to follow as the ATP Finals have been hugely popular with players and fans at the O2 Arena, where aggregate attendances have routinely reached a quarter of a million each year since London began hosting the tournament — the jewel in the ATP’s crown — in 2009.
Despite this success, the ATP announced in August that it was inviting bids from other potential hosts, a move backed by Novak Djokovic, the world number one and president of the ATP Player Council who has won the title five times in London.
“It’s still a few years away but I know that the players will be very excited to compete there, and I also hope to be part of what will be a very special event,” the Serb said in Wednesday’s statement.
Turin will become the 15th city to host the tournament, which since starting in Tokyo in 1970 has had a 13-year stint in New York, a six-year stay in Frankfurt and spells in Hanover, Lisbon, Sydney, Houston, Shanghai and London.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019