Monte Carlo settles suit with ATP, to forgo player commitments

Updated: July 25, 2007, 6:02 PM ET
Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. -- The Monte Carlo clay-court tennis tournament dropped its federal suit against the ATP Tour and agreed to forgo the mandatory player commitments other top-tier events require.

The change takes effect in 2009, when the ATP unveils a new calendar. As part of a settlement announced Tuesday, Monte Carlo will keep its current mid-April spot on the calendar, and will have the same rankings points and prize money as eight other top-tier tournaments.

"This allows us to continue with development of the 2009 calendar, and the changes that we believe are necessary," ATP spokesman Kris Dent said. "It's a good outcome in that it preserves and respects Monte Carlo."

A lack of mandatory player commitments likely means a weaker field for Monte Carlo, but tournament director Zeljko Franulovic said he was satisfied with the settlement.

"In 2009, Monte Carlo will retain its top-tier status among ATP tournaments," Franulovic said in an e-mail. "We believe that this settlement will preserve and build upon Monte Carlo's cherished over-100-year tradition."

The ATP had sought to downgrade the Monte Carlo tournament, first held in 1897. It has been a part of the ATP's Masters Series since that level began in 2000.

The Masters Series, which will be dropped under the new calendar, consists of events one level below the Grand Slam tournaments.

The German Tennis Federation, seeking to block the ATP from downgrading the Hamburg Masters tournament, also filed suit in Delaware -- the ATP's corporate home. That suit remains pending.

Monte Carlo and Hamburg are part of the European clay-court season leading up to the French Open.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press