The All England Club has welcomed the ATP's decision, announced today, to re-categorize the existing grass court tournaments at Queen's and Halle, praising the tour's commitment to the vision of a more significant grass court season.
Building on the decision to extend the gap between the French Open and The Championships from two weeks to three weeks from 2015, The Aegon Championships at Queen's Club and the Gerry Weber Open at Halle will be re-categorized from ATP 250s to ATP 500s, increasing their profile and resonance in the run up to The Championships at Wimbledon.
“When we announced the creation of a three-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon from 2015, our aim was to establish a longer and more significant grass court season as part of the international tennis calendar. Many people have since worked very hard to bring this about and I am delighted to welcome today’s announcement of the increases in prize money and the elevation in status of the Aegon Championships and Gerry Weber Open," commented Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club.
"Both events have been key pillars in promoting grass court tennis for many years and I wish to thank the ATP, LTA and Halle for their contribution and enthusiasm in helping to turn an exciting vision into an exciting reality.”
In addition, the ATP will increase the prize money pool for ATP 500 events (Rotterdam, Dubai, Rio de Janeiro, Acapulco, Barcelona, Hamburg, Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Valencia, Basel, and now Halle and London), with player compensation increasing by an average of 10 per cent annually over the next five years, increasing from $17.6 million in 2013 to $30.8 million in 2018.
Laurent Delanney, CEO ATP Europe, said: “We are delighted to have reached this outcome which sees significant prize money increases for the players, as well as the addition of two very strong tournaments in Queen’s and Halle to the ATP World Tour 500 category from 2015. The decision not only strengthens the 500s category as a wholebut also enhances the grass-court season leading into Wimbledon. It is a terrific outcome for our players, tournaments and the sport as a whole.”
Simon Long, LTA Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The Aegon Championships is a world class sporting event and a fixture of the British summer calendar. Our investment in upgrading the tournament will inspire more people to play and follow tennis, and further strengthen the grass court season in the run up to The Championships, Wimbledon, so I would like to thank our partners at the ATP and the All England Club for their support in achieving this important result.”
Ralf Weber, Tournament Director of the Gerry Weber Open, said: “This is a very proud moment for us, and a true reflection of the success of the Gerry Weber Open over the past two decades. The ATP has honoured our commitment as well as our innovations over the past 21 years, and we are delighted to be joining the ATP World Tour 500 category. We have played a decisive role in raising the importance and stature of lawn tennis on the international tennis calendar, and we look forward to many successful years ahead.”
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