Stefanos Tsitsipas

Nitto ATP Finals Caps Record ATP Attendance For 2019

LONDON — The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, held for an 11th consecutive year at The O2 in London, provided a thrilling finale to the 2019 ATP Tour season, bringing attendance across the 63 ATP events throughout the year to a record 4.82 million fans, while online consumption of the season finale hit unprecedented heights.

21-year-old Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem in a memorable singles final, 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4), to complete a remarkable week of matches at The O2. It was only the third time in the history of the tournament (since 1970) that the singles championship match came down to a final set tie-break (1988, Becker d. Lendl; 2005, Nalbandian d. Federer).

Tsitsipas, who had won the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan just one year earlier, captured the biggest title of his career, as well 1,300 ATP Rankings points and US$2,656,000 in prize money. At just 21 years, 3 months, the Greek became the youngest champion since 20-year-old Hewitt in 2001, and 6th-youngest champion in tournament history.

In doubles, the French pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut captured the season-ending title for the first time in their careers, defeating Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus, 6-3, 6-4.

The season finale attracted 242,883 fans to The O2 across the eight days of competition, bringing the tournament’s cumulative attendance since 2009 to 2,803,967. This year’s attendance at The O2 elevated the attendance across the ATP Tour’s 63 events in 2019 to more than 4.82 million fans, an all-time record. The previous highest attendance had been set in 2017 (4.57 million).

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals also attracted record audiences online, as the tournament generated unprecedented levels of fan engagement across social and digital media platforms. The event received almost 400m impressions on tournament related content – a 97% increase on 2018. And with 12.4m interactions generated across ATP and Tennis TV social media platforms, the 2019 event became the best performing ATP Tour tournament on social, a 145% increase on the previous year. Tennis TV received 41.24 million video views on social media throughout the tournament, taking the platform’s total views on social media in 2019 to more than 1 billion.

Away from the match action, the ATP’s new ATP Tour app was successfully launched, while a five-year renewal of the Tour’s premier partnership with Emirates was also announced.

The ATP’s crown jewel event is to be held at The O2 in London for a 12th consecutive and final time in 2020, before moving to Turin, Italy, in 2021. Fans are able to purchase pre-sale tickets for the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals from today, by visiting: https://www.axs.com/NittoATPFinals_presale

BY THE NUMBERS:

• 399,112,369 – number of impressions across all ATP digital platforms (ATPTour.com, NittoATPFinals.com, live scoring apps, and social media platforms, and Tennis TV) throughout the event, a YOY increase of 97%.
• 69,110,871 – number of video plays on ATP digital media platforms, including ATPTour.com, NittoATPFinals.com, ATP & Tennis TV social media platforms, a year-on-year increase of 88%.
• 41,240,000 – number of Tennis TV social media video views, taking the platform’s total views on social media in 2019 to more than 1 billion.
• 12,397,163 – number or interactions (likes, comments, retweets, replies etc.) on ATP and Tennis TV social media platforms throughout the event, a year-on-year increase of 145%.
• 9,000,000 – amount of prize money (US$) on offer at the 2019 season finale.
• 6,200,000 – viewership in the UK of the BBC Breakfast programme that featured an exclusive sit-down interview with all eight singles players ahead of the season finale. The clip was also viewed on social media more than a quarter of a million times.
• 4,823,370 – number of fans that attended the 63 tournaments ATP tournaments in 2019, an all-time record.
• 2,803,964– cumulative attendance at the season-ending tournament since it moved to London in 2009.
• 2,656,000 – amount of prize money (US$) that Stefanos Tsitsipas won by capturing the title.
• 1,570,000 – number of streams on Tennis TV, the ATP’s official live streaming service, with each viewer watching an average of 475 minutes each.
• 242,880 – attendance inside The O2 arena across the eight days.
• 60,000 – number of single use plastic cups removed from the waste stream through elimination of single use cups and use of tournament take-home cups.
• 3,410 – metres of string used by Tecnifibre, Official Stringers of the Nitto ATP Finals, during the tournament.
• 1,300 – ATP Rankings points won by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
• 310 – number of racquets strung by Tecnifibre during the tournament. No plastic bags were used in the delivery of newly strung racquets to players by the official tournament stringers.
• 11 – number of years the event has been held at The O2 in London. The only city to host the season finale longer is New York, which held the season finale for 13 years from 1977-1989.
• 8 – number of different nations represented in the singles field, for the fourth consecutive year.
• 5 – number of times Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have finished the season as year-end No.1.
• 4 – number of singles players 23-and-under in the field (Tsitsipas, Zverev, Berrettini, Medvedev), the most since 2009.
• 1 – number of continents (Europe) represented in the singles field, a first in the 50-year history of the event.

Australian Open Proves There Is Still A Ways To Go For The “Changing Of The Guard”

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

As the 2019 Australian Open concludes, one of the biggest upsets of the tournament was that of Roger Federer. The two-time defending champion’s fourth-round defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas set the ball rolling anew about changing of the guard and how Federer’s – and his other peers’ – time had come to an end.

Yet, as it turned out in the days after Federer’s upset, the old guard remained as they were – with Novak Djokovic defeating Rafael Nadal for the men’s title – even as the youngsters kept dropping off, one-by-one as the draw narrowed further. Until eventually, the two others who reached the penultimate stage of the tournament – Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lucas Pouille – got quite a lesson as to how they were expected to play at that point.

The concept of changing of the guard, too, has taken a lunging step backwards at this point. To that end, it is following the usual chain of events that usually transpire in an event. Each time that one among Federer, Nadal and Djokovic loses – and a Next Gen player wins – in a tournament, or a tournament; the narrative repeats itself. But, the moment any of them wins an event, the younger players get relegated to the backburner even as the legendary status of these players is cemented further. As such, suffice to say, the idea that there is a change of guard happening in the upper echelons of the game will soon reappear as the season progresses from beyond the Australian swing. And, at this point, it has honestly begun to get slightly tiresome.

All this, however, is not to say that the youngsters are not making their way through. But that there is an attempt to conflate expectations and reality, without considering the time factor needed to merge the two into a single entity. For example: in the last few years, Alexander Zverev has been a steady presence in the top ATP rankings with a slew of titles backing his credentials. Yet, his results in the majors have been disappointing – although not for want of trying.

Much as Zverev himself ponders about the dichotomy of his results otherwise in the ATP events and at the majors, for the numerous others who have directed their scrutiny at him, the takeaway ought to be that not keep harping on it and rather, let him figure it out for himself with his team. The same case can be made for Hyeon Chung – who after a surprisingly great run at the 2018 Australian Open has been laid low with injuries and inconsistent performances – and more recently, for Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In case of the Greek, the highs after his win over Federer – and Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-final – came cascading down in his lopsided 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 semi-final loss to Nadal. In a curious admission about the result, Tsitsipas observed in the post-match press conference, “I don’t know, I feel very strange. I feel happy with my performance in this tournament, but at the same time I feel disappointed. I feel like I could do a bit better today. I don’t know. That’s how I felt. But it’s a very, very weird feeling. Almost felt like just couldn’t play better. I don’t know.”

The rest of his press conference followed along the same lines with Tsitsipas outlining Nadal’s game-plan during the match and his inability to deal with the tactics employed. As far as analysis went, it was needed. But considering that Tsitsipas had faced Nadal twice before – as recently as in 2018 – and had lost both matches to him, he needed to have a strategy worked out to cover all his problematic areas against the Spaniard. Most importantly, as befitting the ranks of a player ushering in a new era, he needed to adjust his strategy right there, on the court, when the ones he had been employing were not working effectively against Nadal.

At the moment, this is the biggest differentiator between these multiple-time champions and the new players. The older players’ acumen in manipulating their tactics to put their opponents on the back-foot, then, is not something that can be gained in a match or two. It takes years to put together and even then, it is not perfect at all times.
But, in case of losses, it is the experience-wrought capability to reset their games that has made them so dominant, year-on-year and season-after-season. Even for Federer, despite his loss which has not been his first, and which will not be his last either.