Chinese Launch of 2009 ATP World Tour Reinforces Country’s Key Role in Pro Tennis

April 29, 2009

Beijing, China — CEO of the ATP International Group, Brad Drewett, chaired a press conference in BeijingTuesday with more than 150 media in attendance, to discuss the important role that China plays in the ATP World Tour. In October 2009, China is host to two of the ATP’s top-tier events, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Shanghai and an ATP World Tour 500 in Beijing.

“China has had a meteoric rise in the last decade to become a significant player on the world tennis stage,” said Drewett. “In 2009, the men’s professional game in China has been taken to an even higher level with back-to-back weeks featuring the ATP’s highest level of tournaments. In October, Chinese fans are going to see two weeks of some incredible tennis action with all the ATP’s best players here.”

According to the China Tennis Association (CTA), the number of people playing tennis in China has risen to 8.12 million since 2004, in part inspired by international tennis events, such as Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai (2002, 2005-08) and China Open (2004 to present). In addition, the growth in popularity of tennis has seen one million children join CTA development programs since 2004.

To capitalise on the growing number of tennis fans in China, and the fact that China has the largest and fastest growing number of internet users in the world, ATP launched its Chinese language web at the press conference today.

Drewett said, “With so many Chinese tennis fans, now is the perfect time for us to launch the Chinese language ATP World Tour web site and to reach an even wider audience. The English language ATP World Tour web site is the world’s most popular online tennis destination and we hope that the Chinese ATP World Tour site will be just as successful with a mix of attributes from the English site, such as live streaming as well as localised content, and eventually public forums for chatting, blogging, private areas for fans and online shopping.”

Ms. Sun Jinfang, Vice-Chairman of the China Tennis Association said, “The launch of ATP World Tour’s Chinese official web site will serve as a window for Chinese tennis lovers to know more about global tennis events and information. This will greatly promote local awareness and the sport of tennis in China. I believe, with the support of ATP, the enthusiastic and vast sports market in tennis will grow and develop at a great pace.”

Today’s launch of as the first product released on ATP’s Digital Platform has been two years in the making. John Phillips, Senior Vice President, ATP Digital Marketing, said, “ATP’s industry leading Digital Platform will revolutionise the way in which tennis fans experience the sport, bringing them closer to their favourite players and tournaments. The new platform enables integrated live scoring, enhanced video and photo presentations, comprehensive player and tournament content libraries, plus advertising, direct marketing and syndication platforms. Upgraded English and Spanish language sites will soon follow today’s exciting Chinese launch.”

Mr. Zhang Yabin, Chairman of the Board of China Open Promotions Limited, said, “Since the inaugural China Open in 2004, ATP has provided great support to this event. This helped China Open achieve remarkable success in the Chinese tennis market during its early stages. Today, the Chinese language ATP World Tour official web site goes live and this will bring about significant development in the future to China Open. The web site will provide Chinese tennis fans with a better understanding of ATP, arouse enthusiasm in tennis and enjoyment of the China Open. We strongly believe that with the support from ATP, our tournament will achieve greater success.”

The China Open will be played at the Beijing National Tennis Centre, site of the Olympic tennis event, from 5-11 October.

Leon Sun, co-Tournament Director of the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, Presented by Rolex, said, “Over the last ten 10 years the boom of development in tennis in Shanghai, and throughout China, has benefited from the support and guidance of the ATP. The staging of the ATP’s most prestigious event, the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai over five years, is testament to the ATP’s belief in the China market place. This increasing level and scale of events, including the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 and China Open, represent a new era of men’s professional tennis in China, and today, with the launch of the ATP World Tour Chinese web site, will provide the Chinese tennis fans a new and user friendly way to follow the world of ATP men’s professional tennis.”

The Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, Presented by Rolex will require mandatory participation from the world’s top players in a 56-draw for singles. The tournament, from 11-18 October, will be played in the existing Qi Zhong Stadium, with a Grand Stand court seating 5000 people to be completed by August 2009. Shanghaiwill be the finale to a new three-week Asian swing of the ATP World Tour that will also visit Bangkok,Tokyo and Beijing.

ATP is now in its third year with China’s largest sports clothing company, Li-Ning, and has co-branded ATP, Li-Ning tennis clothes available throughout Li-Ning’s more than 6,000 stand-alone stores. Li-Ning also sponsors nearly 20 top ATP players including Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic. The end of the press conference saw a fashion parade with models wearing tennis clothes featuring the new ATP World Tour logo.

Mr Ding Li, professional manager of Li-Ning sports marketing resources, said, “It is a rare opportunity for Li-Ning tennis to have such a great chance of cooperating with ATP. With the great help of ATP, Li-Ning tennis has experienced phenomenal growth since 2006. And today, with the launch of ATP World Tour Chinese web site, Li-Ning tennis will become more well-known as a very strong brand in tennis. We are sure our multi-year partnership with ATP will further enhance the popularity of tennis in China.”