The Shanghai Municipal Government hosted the ‘Tennis Masters Cup Launch Press Conference’ today to officially introduce sponsors for the final showdown of the men’s professional tennis circuit, which is being staged this year in Shanghai. The Tennis Masters Cup is co-owned by the ATP, Grand Slams and the ITF and brings together the eight best players of the year to compete for US$3.7 million prize money and the chance to be crowned World No.1.

‘We are pleased with the significant amount of corporate interest in sponsoring the Tennis Masters Cup, especially from so many companies that are new to tennis,’ said Larry Scott, President of ATP Properties. ‘The tournament provides a unique opportunity for sponsors looking for participation in epic sporting events. With its combination of strong government support, public interest in tennis in China, a great venue and the world’s top players, this year’s Masters Cup should be another classic.

We are also proud that Mercedes-Benz will continue to be the Tennis Masters Cup’s principal sponsor and that Heineken will continue its tradition of supporting tennis in China.’

‘At Mercedes-Benz, as long-term partner of the ATP, we appreciate the efforts to bring world-class tennis to countries like China in an effort to broaden the interest in tennis globally,’ said Burghard Graf Vitzthum, Mercedes-Benz Head of alternative communications. ‘The Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai is a great opportunity not only for tennis but for our global brand Mercedes-Benz in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.’

‘The Tennis Masters Cup continues a more than decade long tradition of providing revenue for the Grand Slam Development Fund, donated by the Grand Slams for the development of tennis worldwide and administered
by the ITF,’ said Francesco Ricci Bitti, ITF President. ‘It is appropriate that this year’s event is being staged in China where the ITF’s Development Department has worked since 1999 to upgrade the level of Chinese coaches and the playing level of their junior players. We hope in the not too distant future to have more Chinese players achieve a world ranking, either at the junior or professional level, and certainly to see their best players compete at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.’

Broad sponsor support for the Tennis Masters Cup’s Premiere sponsorship category has come from both leading international as well as domestic companies, many of whom are sponsoring tennis for the first time at this elite level. Premiere sponsors include: Pepsi, JPMorgan Chase, Lacoste, China Mobile, Shui On Real Estate Company, Baosteel, China Pacific Insurance, Haitong.

‘We are proud to be partnering with the ATP, ITF, Grand Slams and Shanghai Government to host one of the world’s top tennis events,’ said Ralph Parks, JPMorgan Chase Asia Pacific Chairman. ‘JPMorgan Chase and professional tennis have a tremendous heritage as successful partners in the U.S. and we are now delighted to extend that to China. It’s a natural that as China’s dynamic economy expands, so too will its role as host to some of the world’s great sporting events.’

The successful bid for the Tennis Masters Cup came from the Shanghai Administration of Sport, with direct backing form the Shanghai Municipal Government and the central government in Beijing, who were also successful in their bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.

‘We will try our best to ensure that this year’s Tennis Masters Cup is the best event ever,’ said Mr. Jin Guoxiang, Director of Shanghai Sport Bureau and Deputy Executive of 2002 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai Organizing Committee. ‘We are using this opportunity to promote tennis throughout the country. We are also confident that our first class stadium will add to the prestige of the tournament and appeal to both the elite players as well as spectators.’

‘We were very happy to see Shanghai progressing so well in its preparations for the Tennis Masters Cup,’ said Geoff Pollard, President of Tennis Australia, owner of the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. ‘The strong sponsor support shows the enormous interest there is in tennis in the Asia Pacific region.’

The Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai will be held 12-17 November 2002 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. The center, located in Pudong, is planned to house 15 convention halls, and is a joint partnership between the Shanghai Municipal Government and Messe, Hannover, Munich and Dusseldorf. Two halls will be used for the event, including a 10,000+ seat venue to stage the tournament and an adjoining hall to house the media room, practice court and corporate hospitality facilities.

Media contacts:

Matthew Rapp, ATP, +1-904-285-8000 (Florida)
Alison Lee, ATP International Group, +61-2-9964-9900 (Sydney)
Barbara Travers, ITF, +44-208-878-6464 (London)