The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has today added a new tournament in Turkey as part of a continued overhaul of the grass-court season, while the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) has said it is keen to host a proposed new event that would act as a season-ending competition for male players under the age of 21.
The new ATP World Tour 250 event in Antalya will be organised by the Kaya Group and GD Tennis Academy, with the support of the Turkish Tennis Federation, from June 25 to July 1, 2017. The tournament will feature a 28-draw singles event and a 16-draw doubles event, with total prize money of €481,615 ($554,000).
The tournament will be hosted at the Kaya Palazzo Belek, a luxury hotel resort that includes 10 clay courts, eight hard courts and four indoor courts. Seven grass courts will be constructed under the guidance of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. The new event will be the second ATP World Tour tournament to be held in Turkey, following the successful staging of the Istanbul Open for the past two years.
Chris Kermode (pictured), ATP executive chairman and president, said: “The addition of Antalya in the ATP World Tour calendar from 2017 represents the latest enhancement to the grass court swing following the introduction of the three-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year. We look forward to expanding our presence in an important market such as Turkey where the demand for world-class tennis continues to grow, while at the same time giving our players additional grass-court playing opportunities ahead of Wimbledon.”
Akif Çağatay Kılıç, Turkey’s Sports Minister, added: “Turkey continues to lead the way in investing in new facilities and infrastructures, hosting numerous international sporting events thanks to its world-class facilities. Our country is playing an important part in the continued growth of international tennis, as well as a number of other sports. The TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open is just one example of our recent investment into facilities and infrastructure.”
Meanwhile, the conclusion of the Italian Open in Rome yesterday (Sunday) saw the FIT state it wants to host a year-ending tournament in Milan or Turin starting next year for the world’s top under-21 male players.
The tournament would award €1.5m in prize money, FIT president Angelo Binaghi said before Sunday’s final which saw Andy Murray defeat Novak Djokovic. The ATP confirmed to the Associated Press news agency that plans for a “Next Generation” tournament are in the works, with an announcement expected after this year’s Wimbledon Championships, which take place from June 27 to July 10.
The FIT is proposing that the event could be held inside the Mediolanum Forum in Assago, on the outskirts of Milan, or the Palasport Olimpico built for the 2006 Turin winter Olympic Games. “It would make sense to host it in Europe,” Binaghi said. “We want to bring a big tournament to northern Italy and we've already discussed the possibility with local authorities.”
The new event would likely be held in early November, ahead of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, England. A number of cities are said to be in contention for hosting rights.