In 1996, Andrei Olhovskiy of Russia won the first ever tournament that was held in China’s biggest city, Shanghai. Till 2001, this tournament was held annually on a regular basis. The tournament played was a part of the ATP International series, now known as the ATP 250. So how did it rise in stature to become one of the nine elite Masters tournament?
1996 – 2004
Ever since its inception in 1996, the tennis tournament held in Shanghai quickly became one of the most famous sporting events in Asia. After the first six years, Shanghai was chosen as the venue to hold the year-end championships, then known as the Tennis Masters Cup. The event was a success as it saw the then World No.1, Lleyton Hewitt win the title.
Shanghai New International Expo Center was where the year end championships of 2002 were played. At the same venue for the next two years, the tournament held its original International Series event. In 2004, a new stadium’s construction began at the Quizhong Forest Sports City Arena. This was because Shanghai was given the contract to hold the year-end championships from 2005 – 2008.
2005 – 2008
In the four years where Shanghai was the host of the Masters Cup, it saw David Nalbandian win the event in 2005, Roger Federer in 2006 & 2007 and Novak Djokovic in 2008.
In 2009, the ATP renamed all of its tournament series. The ATP Masters Series became the ATP Masters 1000. Shanghai was upgraded to this elite category. In the calendar, Shanghai replaced the event at Madrid, which was given a different time period. The year-end championships moved to the O2 Arena in London.
When the first Shanghai Masters were held, new courts were constructed. Two new stadiums, Grand Stand Court 2 and Grand Stand Court 3 were made with a combined capacity of 8000.
This was also the year where Rolex became the title sponsor of the event.
2010 – 2016
— Brenda Bennett (@BrendaBennett_9) May 12, 2016
Ever since it became a Masters event, the tournament has dominated by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic who have won the title thrice. In 2010, Murray defeated Federer in the finals to record the shortest final in the tournament’s history. Murray also became the youngest player to win the Shanghai Masters in the same year. Contradictory to that, Federer became the oldest player to win the event in 2014.
Leander Paes spearheads the list of most titles won in the doubles event with a total count of three titles.
Starting from 2009 up until 2013, Shanghai was awarded the ATP Masters 1000 event of the year award.
In 2016, the ATP released an infographic which showed that the hard Decoturf courts of Shanghai were the fastest among the Masters tournaments. The singles champion will receive $11,92,780 and the doubles champion will get $3,69,380 as prize money.
The ninth edition of the tournament is all set to begin on 8th October, 2017. We look forward to some exciting matches this year…