ATP season finale moves to London in 2009


London : ATP officials will shift their championship to east London from 2009 as the men's sanctioning body once again re-invents its season-ending finale.

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What still has two more editions to run in Shanghai as the Masters Cup will become the ATP World Final, the ATP announced Tuesday, another in a name-change orgy which has left the orphaned event with a variety of titles over the past few decades.

Under a calendar shake-up, the Chinese will be thrown a financial bone in the form of an autumn event during the regular season. London won a commercial bidding war with other undisclosed candidate cities.

The ATP had formerly dropped the word "tour" from their name, only to reinstate it for this newest iteration of the eight-man season finale with a doubles event tacked on.

The event will now be staged at what was once described as former prime minister Tony Blair's "white elephant" project, the 20,000 seat O2 Dome which is also a venue for the 2012 Olympics in the city.

The formerly derelict east London site is within striking distance of the vast financial district from which ATP boss Etienne de Villiers, himself a successful venture capitalist, plans to draw at his highest demographic public.

"We're completely and absolutely under providing in terms of the demand," said de Villiers. "This is a great event.

"It's on the doorstep of Canary Wharf, which has a hundred thousand people in the city who arguably have got more money than they need.

"This is a great opportunity for them to entertain themselves and to entertain their clients who also arguably have more money than they need."

The November event will be worth $ 4.45 million in prize money.

London was given the nod much the approval of de Villiers, who dropped the hint in recent months that the tournament was moving back to Europe much to Chinese displeasure.

"London is the world's most cosmopolitan city with a vibrancy and energy that makes it ideally suited to hosting this event," he said.

"The ATP visits over 30 countries, so having our end of season finale in such a diverse city could not be more appropriate."

The ATP has taken Wimbledon on board for promotional purposes, with the summer Grand Slam serving up marketing focus and providing other support.

Tight-lipped club officials declined to put a figure on their contribution to the project.