Chinese Scandal Possibly Threatens ATP Masters Cup

by Richard Vach | November 15th, 2006, 11:17 pm

An ever-widening sports scandal in China that has already claimed Shanghai’s top Communist party official Chen Liangyu could threaten the ATP’s Tennis Masters Cup, according to Indian news site

“It doesn’t affect our tournament. I feel it’s in good shape we’ve got a partner and promoter who work very closely in Shanghai, they’ve been here for years and years and they keep us abreast of any issues,” the ATP’s David Higdon told reporters. “They’ve kept a handle on that and everyone feels very confident it’s in good shape. We feel confident that everything’s been achieved here.”

Shanghai spent $200 million solely to build the state-of-the-art Qi Zhong stadium complex last year exclusively for the Masters Cup. Perhaps backpedaling on a statement last month that he would like to see the event leave China and come back to Europe, ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers has now done a 180-degree turn and extended the Shanghai Masters Cup contract by a year to 2008, with the option of holding it again in 2009.

“The original agreement was three years, they extended earlier this year and asked for the fourth year,” said the rapidly-spinning Higdon in the land where “saving face” is of utmost importance — especially after your hosts have laid out a welcome mat of a couple hundred million dollars, and you’ve told them you’d rather leave. “They have an option for 2009 and they’ll let us know early next year. There’s been talk about possibly the 2009 Masters Cup going somewhere else but right now it’s all preliminary.”

According to, “All land belongs to the state in China and real estate tycoons have enriched themselves from close collusion with government officials during the country’s recent property boom. Shanghai officials are accused of raiding state pension coffers to fund speculative property and highway deals. The case has ensnared more than a dozen senior politicians as well as business executives. All have been removed from their posts. Yu Zhifei, general manager of the Shanghai circuit which hosts Formula One and Moto Grand Prix, was questioned in connection with the scandal last month, state media reported. Hong Kong media have said Yu has close links to the ousted municipal party chief Chen Liangyu, whose administration was responsible for bringing Formula One to China. More than 100 central government investigators have been dispatched to China’s commercial hub to pursue the probe.”

Real Estate tycoons + raiding state pension coffers = $200 million stadiums and new Formula One races? Stay tuned for more new from Shanghai.

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14 Comments for Chinese Scandal Possibly Threatens ATP Masters Cup

funches Says:

Having this event in China is awful for tennis. The Chinese love it, but it gets no media attention at all. It’s not like American journalists would be flocking to Europe for it, either, but at least it would be on the radar screen.

odobretep Says:

let it stay in china. establish a strong fan and consumer base in asia before moving it again. who cares if american journalists don’t come! tennis fans will always find a way to get their doze of tennis, be it through tv, print or videoclips in the internet. usually, if a person with a short attention span isn’t hooked into tennis he/she will not bother to stay tuned, wherever the venue may be. and don’t bother using the time-difference argument. we do just fine with roland garros.

Latest Greatinfoandtips2 at Says:

[…] Chinese Scandal Possibly Threatens ATP Masters, MI - 5 hours ago… widening sports scandal in China that has already claimed Shanghai s top Communist party official Chen Liangyu could threaten the ATP s Tennis Masters Cup … […]

Leah Says:

Lets get one thing straight: tennis is an international sport. Whether or not American journalists attend is irrelevant and, given the overall poor standard of their writing, it could be a blessing if they don’t. That aside, I have always believed that the best setting for the season ending championship is in London at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s a relatively nuetral venue – not America, not Europe (not really) and not Asia/Australasia- so it favours no player in particular. You know there’s a guarenteed market who are starved of tennis and the RAH is, without question, the most stunning indoor venue in the tennis world.

FurnitureDumper Says:

The Houston Masters Cup was a disaster, almost, promoted by guys who equate Tennis with other regional sports like American Football and Baseball. Let it go to whoever values it more. Let it not be co-opted by existing tournaments. It would be better if along with the Masters Cup, the Paris Masters were shifted to China too. Let it be renamed as the Hongkong Masters and let Tennis bask in the reflected glory of the Olympics and the booming Chinese economy. I hate the Chinese government, but I realise the power of sports to inspire people to behave better.

funches Says:

The time zone issue does matter because it affect all of Europe, too. I agree that from an overall perspective, it doesn’t matter if the tournament received a lot of attention in America, but since I’m inherently selfish, that’s what I care about. I live in America. If I lived in China, I’d be thrilled.

Three paragraphs on Federer-Roddick in my local paper. What a joke.

tennisontherocks Says:

Europe is better location as it is a natural culmination of european indoor season. But a Miami-like Mixed events should go to china. Instead of 24 best players, they get to see 200+ players. Since its spread over 2 weeks, players can take part in local events.

skorocel Says:

Leave it where it is now… It’s only logical it’s in China since they have both money and fans… Do you think McIngvale is clean either? He wouldn’t have organized a year-ending championships in the middle of nowhere for nothing…

And funches, who cares if it doesn’t suit your time zone? I had to wait till something like 2 or 3 a.m. when Federer played his final in the Houston MC 2004 vs. Hewitt, only to see the match being suspended by rain with no further live coverage here in Europe when the play resumed… All this only because one American multimillionaire decided to stage a year-ending championships outdoors, in the middle of November (!)…

P.S. Reading papers is a waste of time:-)

rjnick Says:

What they need to do is combine the men’s and women’s, singles and doubles, and call it a World Championships (still with the top 8, round-robin formats to set it apart from the slams). Then they make cities bid on it each year. That way countries like Argentina, Swtizerland, Croatia, or Beligum — who don’t get a major or masters title in their home country, even though they have top 10 players, have an opportunity to host one of the prestige events. It would also help grow the game in countries like China or Korea or India. No city should have it permanently or for more than one year at a time.

anna Says:

In Australia, which supposedly has such a close relationship with Asian countries (boasting the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific) it’s getting no TV coverage whatsoever and barely a mention in any other media. How disappointing.

kofi ofori Says:

anna, they show it just a few hours delayed on abc (australia) every night. look up your facts before you shame your country!

vinod Says:

it really would be a good idea to have it on a rotation basis giving a lot of countries which would otherwise never have an opportunity. i for myself am in india and if it is bein telecast on TV make it a point to catch it irrespective of whr it is bein played. i guess a roger federer would play awesome tennis even if plays on the moon!!!!

funches Says:


I realize it’s a waste of time to read newspapers when you can’t read in the first place.

As usual, I like tennisontherock’s suggestion. Play the Masters event in Europe to finish the indoor season and give China a mixed event. The only problem is that idea makes too much sense.

GopiB Says:

Shanghai should first host Intenational Gold Series, followed by Master’s Series before it is entitled to the Master’s Cup.

However, money speaks. That’s ok. Good for Shanghai and its tennis fans.

ATP tour needs to partner with Tennis Channel and ensure all cable and satellite providers carry it for free.

It needs to provide wall to wall coverage like the Golf Channel does. Coming home from work, how nice would it be to have McEnroe and Borg chat by the fire side with some highlights of their matches.

Tennis should be more than today’s tournament. More than the Williams’ sisters.

Tennis is history. Golf Channel provides a tremendous blue print for tennis to follow.

As to the master’s cup, ATP should get it back to Europe or Chicago soon!

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