Asia to benefit from change in Tour schedule

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 March, 1998, 12:00am

A recent adjustment to the ATP Tour schedule will benefit Asian tennis tournaments in the new millennium, according to a local sports promoter.

Lincoln Venancio, group managing director of Spectrum, organiser of the Salem Open, said the ATP Tour had decided after the ATP Tour World Championships last November to limit the number of hard court tournaments played between March and July beginning in 2000.

He said the move had been made after clay court specialists had requested the ATP to provide a more balanced schedule between clay court, hard court and indoor tournaments.

The move also increases the attraction of the ATP Tour's three Asian stops - Hong Kong, Japan and India - as they will be the only hard court tournaments played after the Indian Wells, California, tournament in early March and before the Washington DC stop in late July.

'This adjustment to the calendar strengthens these particular stops as it provides a powerful incentive for hard court specialists, like Pete Sampras, to come to Asia, making for stronger tournaments,' Venancio said.

He said the Salem Open had been fortunate in becoming involved with the ATP Tour in 1990, the inaugural year of the tour, and the two parties had developed a strong relationship.

'The growth and the success of the tour has been beneficial for everybody. It's allowed us to grow as a tournament and we are fortunate that players want to come to Hong Kong as it is a great city to be in with lots of things happening,' Venancio said.

'The resolution passed by the ATP Tour protects these tournaments [Hong Kong and Japan] and ensures Asian tennis fans will have the opportunity on a regular basis to see the best tennis players in the world.' Venancio said tournament organisation had become a year-round undertaking, requiring 30 full-time staff and several hundred part-timers during the tournament.

He said the Hong Kong tournament had to compete for players with tournaments being held in India and Portugal. The main draw for the Salem Open will have 32 players with another 32 (some overlapping) in the doubles.

Tickets are available at all Urbtix outlets, or by phoning 2575-3993.