Rolex Shangai Masters: ATP Masters 1000 Rolex Shangai Masters: ATP Masters 1000
days hours minutes seconds
Shop for Official Event Merchandise Now on Sale!

Feature: Shining Celebration: Shanghai Celebrates 25 Years of Tennis

Shining Celebration: Shanghai Celebrates 25 Years of Tennis
October 6, 2023

There's a proud and glittering history in 25 years of professional tennis in Shanghai. 

The tour's biggest names have made the city a regular stop on tour, with stars including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic all crowned champions at the state-of-the-art Qi Zhong Tennis Center. 

The Rolex Shanghai Masters was named by players as the ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year in the five consecutive years between 2009 and 2013.

It has coincided with the rise of Chinese stars including two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na in the women's game, and the ever-improving Zhang Zhizhen, who is helping generate huge fan growth with his ATP-level success.

As guests and officials gathered to mark the quarter-century milestone in a Center Court ceremony on Friday, they were equally feting an exciting tennis future in China. 

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi was joined by Charles Humphrey Smith, an ATP Tournament Advisory Council Member and the Rolex Shanghai Masters Managing Director, as well as Rolex Shanghai Masters Tournament Director Michael Luevano.

Mr Wang Ping, Deputy Secretary of Municipal People's Government accepted a special crystal trophy to mark the 25-year celebration. 

Mr Gaudenzi later reflected on his first experience of Shanghai as a professional player in 2000. In returning to celebrate the anniversary, Mr Gaudenzi also recognised progress in both the dynamic city and the increasingly popular sport.

"I was really impressed coming back here 23 years later, first of all, with the development of the city. Last night, we went out and looked around. It looks incredible progressive, innovative and modern. It's really, really impressive," he said.

"Also, here on site. The new stadium is something which is completely different from what I experienced in 2000. So, the massive improvement in infrastructure, I think everybody has done a good job."
Humphrey Smith and Luevano are integral to that journey, as the leaders of Juss Events, which stages the Rolex Shanghai Masters. In 2002, the partners staged the Tennis Masters Cup (now the ATP Finals) in the city for the first time.

With Shanghai and the sport gaining global recognition, the ATP Finals were staged in Shanghai for a year-period from 2005 to 2008. 

"The 2002 Tennis Masters Cup was a pivotal moment in the development of professional in China," Charles Smith said. "From our first visit to Shanghai in 1998 we could see this was a city that could host the biggest and most important events, and tennis would be among those.

"Over the past 25 years this city has grown and developed incredibly. The infrastructure is incredible. It's been like a vision becoming reality in front of our eyes and was going to be a perfect stop for world tennis."

The Rolex Shanghai Masters - Asia's only ATP Masters tournament - is now one of the most important stops on tour and after a four-year absence due to the pandemic, it was upgraded to feature 96 players over 12 days in 2023.  

Mr Gaudenzi noted how the upgrade represented progress throughout the sport.

"I think having tournaments like Shanghai elevated to two weeks, as well Madrid, Rome, and we're going to also upgrade Canada and Cincinnati in 2025, completely raises the standards and the level of our tour tournaments," he explained. 

Tennis growth in Asia, and the role Shanghai has played in that development, provide a rich foundation for further success. 

"China is a very big market and tennis is a global sport. Our presence here in China is really important for us because we want tennis to become a popular sport in the entire world," Mr Gaudenzi said. 

"Maybe we will never be the No. 1 sport, but we like to be in the top-five sports in every country. I think having a premium event of this size and relevance is really, really important, also to get more kids to play tennis, more fans to engage, you know, and try to engage a global audience."

Historic highs among a growing contingent of Chinese professional players both highlights important progress and provides further inspiration in achieving those goals. 

Zhang and Shang Juncheng have already achieved new highs for Chinese men's tennis and were joined by Bu Yunchaokete and Te Rigele in the 2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters main draw. Wu Yibing is another top-100 Chinese player achieving new highs in the sport. 

For all that's been achieved in 25 successful years in Shanghai, the future is even brighter. 

"Of course, you feel proud of what you have grown and developed and to see the players and their teams enjoying the hospitality and facilities proves the vision Michael and I had those years ago from pretty humble beginnings, has been all worth it," Mr. Smith said.

Tennis TV

Purchase Tickets
Purchase Tickets
Map & Directions
Map & Directions
Title Sponsor
Diamond Sponsor JP Morgan
Patron Sponsor
LONGIBright Dairy
Prestige Sponsors
Heineken Mercedes China Merchants Bank Lavazza
EA7 Marriott Bonvoy Swellfun Red Bull | TCP
Emirates American Express Sportsbeams Sealy
Nobilia Ganten
Official Sponsors
Moet & Chandon SIGG Colmo Shake Shack Wilson
Pizza Hut Yonex Parkway China Telecom Life Fitness
Novalis Innovative Flooring