The race for the eight spots in this year’s Tennis Masters Cup — to be held in Shanghai for the third time (November 12-19) — is hotting up, with newer stars like Marcos Baghdatis and James Blake vying to join old hands Federer, Roddick and Nadal in the prestigious end-of-year tournament.
Meanwhile, in unwelcome news for local promoters, a report suggests that the TMC will leave Shanghai after next year’s tournament, probably to return to London, Paris or another European city. Etienne de Villiers, chairman of the men’s tour, was quoted as saying:
It’s essential we bring it back to Europe. In the past, by necessity rather than by design, we’ve gone to cities where the check has been good and it hasn’t necessarily been the right city for the sport.
Ouch. Shanghaiist wonders if the promotional disasters that beset last year’s tournament — Nadal, Agassi, Hewitt, Roddick and Safin all pulled out with injuries, and even finalist Federer played with a heavily strapped ankle — had any bearing on the decision.
The better news is that there are plans for Shanghai to host a two-week tournament (men’s and women’s) in place of the TMC.
As for this year’s Cup, tickets are now on sale, from RMB 100 per day, or RMB 2200 for the entire tournament.
Photo: Rafael Nadal on court at the Qi Zhong Stadium, announcing his withdrawal from last year’s tournament.