May 15, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

ATP 2025 sked changes good news, bad news situation

The Infosys Hall of Fame Open, a quaint, outlier grass-court event held at the historic International Tennis Hall of Fame club in Newport, Rhode Island the week after Wimbledon, will have its last dance next July.

And that’s just one of the changes announced by the ATP Wednesday, as its 2025 schedule takes shape.

This event, the lynchpin for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and connected events, has been sacrificed along with the ATP tournament in Lyon the week before Roland Garros, and a second tournament on U.S. soil – the event in Atlanta that used to kick off the summer hard-court swing.

The number of tournaments played in the U.S. is a mere shadow of what it once was. And that’s two more by the boards.

All of this is part of the ATP Tour’s “OneVision” plan to “enhance the overall tournament calendar”, per the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s announcement.

According to the Atlanta Open press release, the ATP Tour would consider tournament dates in February and April for upgrades to the 500 level. There were … 17 applicants (Basically, everybody plus a few more). Atlanta didn’t make the cut but Dallas, owned by the same company – GF Sports & Entertainment – did along with Munich and Doha.

The press release quotes:

“A new chapter” is quite some spin.

Three new 500s

On the other side of the ledger, three tournaments have been upgraded to ATP 500 status: the indoor tournament in Dallas in February, the ATP 250 in Doha – also in February – and the clay-court tournament in Hamburg, Germany in April.

That last one had already been announced. The 2023 schedule for the Hamburg week also includes ATP 250 clay-court events in Gstaad, Bastad – and the soon-to-be-defunct grass-court Newport event.

Disappointed with these confirmations is the ATP 250 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which had applied for an upgrade to 500 status but was denied. It is scheduled the game week as the 250 in Delray Beach, and the 500 in Rotterdam.

Count Buenos Aires native Diego Schwartzman among the disappointed.

The weeks that have concurrent 500s will be Week 8 with Rio and the new upgraded Doha event, Week 9 with Acapulco and Dubai, Week 25 with Halle and Queen’s, Week 39 with Tokyo and Beijing, and Week 43 with Basel and Vienna.

Show me the money

From all appearances, being in the Middle East and/or spending significant sums to upgrade facilities appear to be be the winning elements of a successful upgrade application.

The official ATP press release goes thusly:

“ATP Tour events in Dallas, Doha and Munich will be upgraded to ATP 500 status from 2025, part of an unprecedented set of reforms to strengthen the tennis calendar. The three event upgrades are set to deliver benefits for fans and players alike, with more action and playing opportunities at bigger events. It marks the ATP’s latest move to enhance the sport’s calendar and premium product, a core objective of the OneVision strategy.”

Doha, of course, has always offered more than the standard ATP 500 prize money. And it’s in tennis’s new favorite area – the Middle East.

In Dallas, the still very young tournament is going to relocate to a “soon-to-be-announced new venue”.

In Hamburg (which was, if your institutional memory is longer than a year or two, once a Masters 1000), there will be a “full-scale renovation of its facility”.

The Lyon event, held in rather simple but warm and inviting surroundings, will be sacrificed for this outlier post-Wimbledon clay-court event. The successful application is a joint bid between the owners of the Munich and Lyon tournaments.

It’s another low-key, lovely event gone by the boards for progress.

More prize money

According to the ATP, all three events will offer about $2.8 million US each in prize money from 2025, and contribute to an “ATP 500 Bonus Pool”. The additions bring the total number of ATP 500-level events to 16 from 2025 on.

Per the ATP, the three “will deliver approximately $51.7 million in additional player compensation over a five-year period at the ATP 500 category.”

(To be deducted from that glowing total, of course, is the loss of the compensation from the three dead tournaments).

It will mean roughly a tripling of the current prize money in Dallas, about twice as much in Doha.

This year, the prize money at 500-level events ranked from $2.17 milion in D.C. to 2.35 million Euros at both Halle and Queen’s, to 2.56 million Euros in Vienna, to 2.8 million Euros in Madrid, to $3 million US in Dubai, all the way to $3.8 million US in Beijing,

By 2025, seven of the nine current Masters 1000 tournaments will be of the agonizingly extensive 12-day variety.

Progress.

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