ATP World Tour set for new grass court tournament as schedule to 2018 confirmed

The Association of Tennis Professionals has released its calendars for the 2017 and 2018 men’s seasons, with a new grass court tournament leading into the Wimbledon grand slam set to be introduced next year.

The 2017 and 2018 calendars represent a continuation of the current 2016 schedule, underpinned by the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, 13 ATP World Tour 500s, and 40 ATP World Tour 250s. The tournaments head into the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, England.

From 2017, a second grass court tournament will be held the week before Wimbledon, alongside the existing event in the English city of Nottingham. The ATP said a separate announcement relating to this tournament will follow in due course.

While the cornerstones of the calendar remain the same, the ATP World Tour is set to expand into new markets, as early as this year, reaching a total of 32 countries. Bulgaria, through the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, will host its first ever ATP World Tour tournament in February following the relocation of the tournament in Zagreb, Croatia.

Mexico will host a second ATP World Tour tournament following the relocation of the tournament in Bogota, Colombia, to Los Cabos. The European Open will see Belgium host an ATP World Tour event for the first time since 1998 following the relocation of the tournament in Valencia, Spain, to Antwerp.

The ATP has released its 2017 and 2018 calendars on the back of a record-breaking season in 2015 that attracted a global broadcast audience of 973 million viewers, a 10 per cent growth on the previous year.

Combined with the ATP’s weekly magazine show, ATP World Tour Uncovered, which drew a viewership of 60 million, the ATP said its events attracted in excess of one billion viewers globally in 2015. The 2015 season also saw an all-time on-site attendance record, with 4.5 million fans attending ATP events across the season.

“Our current structure of tournaments, as well as this phenomenal generation of players, has generated a significant growth in audiences in recent years,” Chris Kermode, ATP executive chairman and president, said. “We’re delighted to have seen that trend continue in 2015, and to confirm our calendars through to 2018 as we look to ensure a period of stability and sustained growth for the Tour.”