TURIN, Italy– There is a huge world map in the atrium of the five-star hotel in Turin where the leading gamers stayed throughout the ATP Finals that ended Sunday.It was not the perfect metaphor. Though guys’s tennis is unquestionably international, with tournaments on 6 continents(no Antarctica for now), it is not at the minute a global sport at the top.As the 2021 tour season ends, the leading 10 in songs is exclusively European: from 34-year-old Novak Djokovic of Serbia at No. 1 to 20-year-old Jannik Sinner of Italy at No. 10. Though there were some guys’s trip executives who thought that it would have been a smarter development technique and more secure monetary decision to take the ATP Finals in other places– see Tokyo or Singapore– it is definitely in tune with the times that the tour’s year-end championship remained in Europe.The surprise was that it came to Turin. The ATP Finals were in London at the O2 Arena from 2009 to 2020, serving as a yearly 2nd assisting of big-time tennis for a significant city and major media hub that already had
Wimbledon.But Turin, the brand-new host for a five-year run, is a really different and more risky play. Though Turin is the capital of Italy’s Piedmont region, it is just the country’s fourth most populous city behind Rome, Milan and Naples. It has a tennis culture– clubs and courts prevail– but does not have a regular guys’s or ladies’s tour occasion and has never produced a major tennis star, although Lorenzo Sonego, 26, a Turin native presently ranked 27th, is training and playing difficult to alter that(he has victories over Djokovic and the 2020 U.S. Open champ Dominic Thiem). Fiat, the carmaker that when controlled the city, has actually carried on, leaving a financial void. Turin has its strengths: great wine and food, an Egyptian museum, a stylish city center and the soccer club Juventus. However what offered it the edge for indoor tennis was the Pala Alpitour, the biggest, most up-to-date indoor arena in Italy.
It was built to host ice hockey at the Winter season Olympics in 2006, and Turin’s leaders aspired to revive the Olympic spirit and raise the city’s worldwide profile with another significant sports event.That might be more difficult than they believe. The ATP Finals is perhaps the most prominent yearly guys’s tennis occasion outside the 4 Grand Slam competitions. Only the leading eight men qualify in singles, and it is a goal and talking point throughout the season as well as among the biggest paydays and ranking increases available. An undefeated champ gets 1,500 ranking points: more than any competition outside the Grand Slam events, whose champs get 2,000. But the ATP Finals are still no place near as big a fishbowl. Winning is important for a champion’s legacy but not essential. Rafael Nadal has actually never ever managed it, yet nobody will take him off the list of the video game’s biggest players.Three of the previous 5 ATP Finals champions– Grigor Dimitrov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, who won in 2018 and once again on Sunday– have yet to win a Grand Slam title.But with
Nadal, Thiem and Roger Federer out of action for extended durations as they recuperate from significant injuries, Turin got the very best of what was available. No. 1 Djokovic, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 3 Zverev all reached the semifinals after coming through their round-robin groups, and all revealed satisfaction with their brand-new play area even if Medvedev did grumpily and briefly compare it to a minor-league”opposition” event throughout his opening match when he had problem getting the
balls delivered to him at the speed he chooses before serving.There were certainly more considerable issues, some beyond organizers’control. The coronavirus pandemic made advance preparing an obstacle. Cash prize was halved– from $ 14.5 million to$7.25 million– largely due to the fact that of the lowered arena capability. Though Turin had actually been predicting a 75 percent limit, the Italian authorities ultimately settled on 60 percent, which turned away hundreds of fans on short notification. When inside, there were long lines and a scarcity of concessions (the sponsors seemed to be doing just fine). But the interest was real and audible, even with just over 7,600 fans in the stands. It was genuine in Turin’s historic center too, where storekeepers put tennis rackets in their displays and windows and the city turned Piazza San Carlo into a tennis town with big video screens and a small court.Is it much better to take an occasion like the ATP Finals to a world city where it will be at the majority of a sideshow or to bring it to a more modest location like Turin where it can and likely will dominate?Option No. 2 has its charms. “The Turin concept was that the city would truly accept the occasion, and we would have done even more if there had not been Covid,
“stated Andrea Gaudenzi, the chairman of the ATP Trip.”Overall, I think we have to enhance a few things, especially in the fan experience outside the arena when you come without the corporate ticket. However overall, I’m personally pleased with the on-court experience.”The potential downside is that you create waves in a little pond
instead of ripples in vaster uncharted waters that might help grow the game long term. With the Big Three nearing completion of their careers, men’s tennis is certainly in for a lull.But after all the empty arenas of the
pandemic, buzz is an even bigger virtue, and Italy is abuzz over tennis and rightly so. When Turin and the Italian Tennis Federation started lobbying for the ATP Finals in 2018, Sinner and Matteo Berrettini had actually not yet broken through(and Gaudenzi, a previous Italian star, had actually not yet become chairman of the ATP ). As it turned out, Berrettini, 25, a Wimbledon finalist this year, certified directly for Turin and when he needed to withdraw after one match with an abdominal injury, Sinner was ready to action in as the alternate. The environment when he played was the best of the week. “We never might have thought of that 2 Italian gamers would take part in the very first ATP Finals in Turin,”said Angelo Binaghi, president of the Italian Tennis Federation.That is rather a bonus offer, and due to Sinner’s and Berrettini’s youth and skill, it may not be a one-time bonus offer.