Rolex Shanghai Masters to return with a larger singles draw and possibly Federer
The Rolex Shanghai Masters returns this year with an expanded schedule and a 96-player singles draw.
The upgraded ATP tournament, which will take place from October 2 to 15, will welcome fans and international players with surprises such as new facilities and expanded entertainment options.
During the tournament, fans will have the opportunity to see retired star player Roger Federer play at the Qizhong Tennis Center.
To accommodate the increased number of players and coaches, the tennis center in Minhang District has committed to the first phase of renovation, which includes the construction of a new 800-square-meter gym, 200 additional lockers, and an expanded restaurant that can serve 250 VIP diners at once.
"We spent around 25 million yuan (US$3.6 million) on the first phase of Qizhong's renovation, which was primarily focused on the new player population, guests, medical... everything that was required to stage a Super Masters," Michael Luevano, tournament director of Shanghai Rolex Masters, told Shanghai Daily.
"Aside from tennis, there will be entertainment, shopping, dining, and interaction with players," he added. "Our top priority is to provide our fans with an unforgettable experience."
The Shanghai tournament, according to Luevano, is working on a new program called "Rolex Shanghai Masters Icon Athlete." Legends of the game will be invited to Shanghai as guests to interact with fans.
"We are in very advanced discussions with recently retired players who have helped the Shanghai tournament develop since 2005," Luevano said.
Though Luevano did not specify a name, it is very likely that 41-year-old Roger Federer, who retired last year, will arrive in Shanghai for the event.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion enjoys great popularity among Chinese fans, having won the Shanghai tournament four times.
The Swiss said goodbye to his tennis career last September, teaming up with longtime friend and rival Rafael Nadal in his final Laver Cup match, which he lost to Jack Sock/Frances Tiafoe of the United States.
The Rolex Shanghai Masters has a new sponsor, LONGi Green Energy Technology Co.
The ATP Tour, Shanghai tournament organiser Juss Sports, and LONGi signed a global strategic partnership agreement on Monday, making LONGi the Rolex Shanghai Masters' patron sponsor as well as the ATP Tour's official solar energy and hydrogen partner.
According to Dennis She, vice president of LONGi, the company will help build the Shanghai Masters into a low carbon tournament by applying their Photovoltaics technology to Qizhong and other aspects of the tournament.
LONGi was also a partner of the Qatar World Cup. Under the new partnership with ATP, it will become a sponsor of several other ATP tournaments including the ABN AMRO Open, Movistar Chile Open, Miami Open, Mutua Madrid Open, Terra Wortmann Open (Halle), Laver Cup, Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships and Nitto ATP Finals.