Some of the top men’s tennis players may be making their way to Singapore after the Australian Open in February, as the Republic will be hosting a mid-tier professional tournament a week after the elite grand slam event.
In a media release on Wednesday (20 January), Sport Singapore (SportSG) said that the tournament will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena from 20 to 28 February, after the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) granted a single-year licence for a new ATP 250 tournament, in a bid for more competitive opportunities for tennis players amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outside of the four annual grand slam events, the ATP 250 is the third-highest tier of the ATP tournaments, after the ATP Masters 1000 and ATP 500 events. The total prize money for an ATP 250 tournament ranges from US$416,000 to US1,024,000, while the winner will also get 250 rankings points.
With the two-week Australian Open finishing in Melbourne on 21 February, the Singapore tournament could see some top tennis stars entering, should they opt to continue competing for rankings points around the Asia-Pacific region.
Strict measures, travel protocol amid pandemic
Amid the ongoing pandemic, strict safe management measures at the venue will be implemented, together with travel protocol for players and officials in line with prevailing government regulations.
The combined efforts of SportSG and Singapore Tennis Association – supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and the Sports Hub – in managing the tournament will be important in enabling international sporting events to return to Singapore in stages through 2021, said SportSG in its media release.
“Singapore’s hosting of this event capitalises on the ‘Asia Swing’ and will pave the way for future collaboration with the ATP for future men’s tennis events,” said SportSG chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin.
“We are mindful that the COVID-19 situation is fluid and will adapt measures for the tournament that are consistent with the national posture. We are monitoring the situation at the Australian Open where the majority of players will be coming to Singapore from.
“We are committed to bring sport back safely and deliver an event to activate the industry, and to inspire fans and the tennis fraternity.”
Spectators back in sports events in Singapore
Singapore had successfully hosted the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals from 2014 to 2018 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and welcome around 100,000 spectators each year to watch the top women’s players battle for the top-tier event.
It had recently began to allow a small number of spectators back into sports events, with 250 fans let in to watch a ONE Championship mixed martial arts fight event at the Indoor Stadium in October last year.
“Singapore has an excellent track record delivering international sporting events to a world-class standard. We have confidence this tournament will be no exception, with a primary focus on ensuring safety,” said Alison Lee, ATP’s executive vice-president of international region.
Further details on the ATP 250 tournament – including player profiles, schedules, COVID-19 protocols and event ticketing – will be released soon.