LONDON -- The ATP, governing body of men's
tennis, announced a new-look calendar and significant extra
investment for the 2009 season on Thursday.
Ten cities will host revamped "500" series events which are
currently one tier below the nine Masters Series tournaments.
The Masters Series events will become known as "1000"
tournaments, offering 1,000 rankings points to the winners. The
"500" series offers 500 points.
Prize money for the "500" series will rise to $20.7 million,
an increase of 118 percent on the same events in 2008.
The ATP said the revamp will bring with it around $200
million worth of facility improvements at the tournaments.
"The changes we are undertaking represent the biggest
shake-up of the ATP Tour since its inception but reflect a true
appetite for the sport in emerging key markets," executive
chairman Etienne de Villiers said in a statement.
"Our players, fans, tournaments and sponsors deserve a world
class Tour and that is what we will be giving them in 2009."
The 10 cities granted "500" series tournaments are:
Rotterdam, Dubai, Acapulco, Memphis, Barcelona, Washington DC,
Beijing, Tokyo, Basel and Valencia.
Hamburg, in litigation over its Masters Series status, has
been reserved as an 11th tournament in the "500" series.
"This is fantastic news for the ATP Tour and I am delighted
in particular my hometown Basel has been awarded "500" status
for 2009," said world No. 1 Roger Federer.
London will host the World Tour Finals for four years from
Shanghai, which now hosts the end-of-season event, becomes
a "1000" series tournament in 2009.