There was a warm welcome from Wimbledon’s six-time champion Roger Federer and the All England Club chief executive Ian Ritchie at a media conference in London to announce the opening of ticket sales for the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena from 21-28 November.
In a filmed message Federer reaffirmed that London, where he has enjoyed perhaps his most emphatic success, was one of his favourite venues. His assertion that the ATP Finals, which staged the first of a five-year contract at the O2 at the conclusion of the last tennis season, had been a resounding success was endorsed by Ritchie.
“It is different from Wimbledon and that was one of the objectives,” said Ritchie in confirming the All England Club’s ongoing intention to offer its expertise and experience in helping to boost the success of the World Tour Finals, which last November set an all-time indoor tennis attendance record of 256,000 in eight days. “The All England Club is dedicated to promoting tennis as and when the opportunity arises and when this event was brought to London we were very keen to help.
“From our point of view the World Tour Finals was a plus all round, good for tennis, good for the United Kingdom. We must hope that the next four years will be as successful as the first one. “Normally in Britain people’s interest in tennis centres around the Wimbledon fortnight, but this event demonstrated that’s not true.
“If you put on the best players in the world and show them in a fantastic venue, people will come. And from my point of view that is excellent news.” While acknowledging that Wimbledon remains a highly popular sell-out, Ritchie stressed, “Our dominance in tennis should never be taken for granted. You always want more and you want to see the younger people as committed to becoming tennis supporters as their parents are.
“Every year at Wimbledon we try to look at things from a different perspective, always trying to improve. There are people who have been involved at The Championships for 30 years and they say every tournament every year is different. “We at Wimbledon were pleasantly surprised at how successful the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals was. It is the biggest indoor tennis event in the world and we are happy to be associated with something which has proved to be so successful.”