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Masters Cup returns to Shanghai

June 03, 2004 18:36 IST

The season-ending men's tennis championship will return to Shanghai in 2005, Masters Cup organisers said on Thursday.

The event will remain in China for at least three years.

The Masters Cup is contested each November by the world's top eight players and is co-owned by the ATP, the Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

This year's event will take place in Houston, Texas.

The Shanghai Masters Cup in 2002 was the largest professional sporting event China had hosted and was considered a huge success.

"We are thrilled that Shanghai is hosting the Tennis Masters Cup again," said the ATP's Mark Miles. "The city went to great lengths to stage a spectacular world-class event in 2002 and as a direct result, tennis in China is booming.

"The popularity will only grow even more with having one of the world's most prestigious tennis events in Shanghai for the next three years."

The event -- featuring the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams -- will be staged at the new state-of-the-art Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.

The tennis centre, which will become Asia's largest, is being built on 80 acres in the Minghang district, almost 30 kilometres south-west of the city.

Due for completion in May 2005, the centre will feature a 15,000-seat centre court and 40 indoor and outdoor courts.

"The Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai is a great platform for the top level of our sport in that region, attracting not only wider audiences but also important sponsorship relationships to tennis and this can only help the ITF as we prepare for the tennis event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing," ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said.

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