It's match-over for Hong Kong which officially kissed goodbye to its sole ATP tournament yesterday. The move to Beijing has finally been sanctioned by the world governing body for men's professional tennis, dealing a huge blow to Hong Kong's claim to being the events capital of Asia. 'The ATP is pleased to announce another event in mainland China following the successes of the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai and the Heineken Shanghai Open,' said ATP chief executive Mark Miles after the Tour's board of directors gave the nod to Beijing. 'Chinese fans have enjoyed the world-class tennis action they have seen in their own country, particularly evident from last year's sellout crowds and huge domestic television ratings at the Masters Cup. The Beijing tournament will further contribute to solidifying this popularity, especially important with the city hosting the 2008 Olympic Games,' said Miles. The Hong Kong tournament, sponsored by Salem last year, will now be held in Beijing starting the week of September 8. Ken Catton, a leading sports promoter and consultant to the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons Association (TPA), said the loss was inevitable as Hong Kong lacked the basic facilities to host a top-class international tennis tournament. The TPA hosted the popular Marlboro Classic from 1988 to 1997 at Victoria Park before the cigarette company pulled out due to impending anti-tobacco legislation. 'For anyone to promote sport in Hong Kong and realise the objective of Hong Kong being the events capital of Asia, we have to get a stadium built. The government seems to have got its priorities wrong. It has to reassess priorities and do it soon,' said Catton. Lincoln Venancio, whose company (Tennis Management Limited) holds the ATP licence of the tournament moving to Beijing and which staged the Salem Open in Hong Kong at Victoria Park for 13 years, said: 'We have had great success with the event in Hong Kong, but this is an ideal time to bring the stars of the game to the 2008 Olympic city.' Venancio said the decision to switch cities was made purely on commercial grounds. 'It is a business decision. We see the Olympic opportunity and we feel we have to move to Beijing now.' Last September, Venancio revealed his plans to move the event from Hong Kong to Beijing. Cigarette company Salem also announced it was ending a 13-year relationship as sponsors. Last July, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Tom Group took control of 60 per cent of Tennis Management. It is believed the decision to move the SAR's only ATP tournament - one of four in Asia - to Beijing was taken at that time. The new Chinese tournament will be staged at the Beijing Municipal Tennis Centre with centre court seating for 3,500 and 12 outdoor courts. It is being considered as a venue for tennis at the 2008 Olympics. If the go-ahead is given, the venue will be given a major overhaul. 'There are plans to build a 10,000-seater centre court stadium for the Olympics while court one will have 4,500 seats and court two more than 2,000. All the other facilities, including those for the media, will be state-of-the-art,' said Venancio. 'While Victoria Park was a good facility, there was no way it can be compared to what will be built for the Olympics. With all the facilities that will be built and with Beijing being the capital of China and also the Olympic city, it was an opportunity that could not be missed,' said Venancio. Victoria Park was built in the 1980s and is more than 20 years old. While the stadium is highly accessible, it is outdated and lacks many basic amenities. TPA official Terry Catton said he hoped the government would urgently address the issue of building a new multi-purpose stadium in Hong Kong. 'Hong Kong clearly lacks facilities. We should have a multi-purpose stadium with a capacity of around 10,000 that can host various sports like tennis, volleyball and badminton etc. It should also be able to host pop concerts,' said Catton. 'If Hong Kong wants to stage major international events we need the facilities, which ideally for tennis would mean a stadium with a retractable roof. The government has to look at it as a priority.' The ATP also approved the transfer of the Tashkent tournament to Bangkok in late September. 'The Bangkok transfer is also a very exciting move. Paradorn Srichaphan, Asia's highest-ever ranked player, and his family have created as enormous following for tennis in Thailand. Paradorn has millions of fans from every age group, so it is a natural move to establish an ATP event there,' said Miles.