ATP to give new emphasis to grass-court game for 2015 World Tour

The Association of Tennis Professionals has released its 2015 ATP World Tour calendar, with the season set to incorporate a three-week grass-court swing in the lead up to the Wimbledon Championships for the first time.

The 2015 men’s tennis calendar will feature 62 tournaments in 31 countries across six continents. The extended grass-court swing will be comprised of events in Stuttgart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, London-Queen’s, Halle, and a new 48-draw event in Nottingham – a tournament that was previously held as a 28-draw event in Eastbourne. In addition, Queen’s and Halle will be re-categorised as World Tour 500 events, bringing the grass-court season additional weight in the 52-week ATP Rankings with a 75 per cent increase in points attributed to the surface.

“The ATP World Tour is a truly global sports property, and demand for tournaments around the world is high, which reflects the strength of our product and the growing popularity of our sport,” Chris Kermode, ATP executive chairman and president, said. “The extended grass-court season, with additional Emirates ATP Rankings points at stake, is a positive step forward. One of our assets as a sport is to provide for variance across playing surfaces throughout the season, so the strengthening of the grass-court season is a significant enhancement for the overall calendar.”

The 2015 calendar sees the ATP retain its strongest foothold in the traditional markets of Europe and North America, while recent developments in the emerging markets of Asia and South America continue to take hold. China remains the only country outside the United States to host ATP events across World Tour 250 (Shenzhen), World Tour 500 (Beijing), and World Tour Masters 1000 (Shanghai) categories. Meanwhile, the four-week South American swing continues to be highlighted by the Rio de Janeiro tournament, the first World Tour 500 event to be held in the continent.

The ATP added that it will also re-introduce a third tournament in week 17 of the 2015 calendar alongside the Munich and Oeiras events. The week had previously held the Serbia Open in Belgrade, which saw its last edition in 2012. The ATP will be commencing an application process to lease an World Tour 250 tournament to be played outdoors on clay in the European region.