The Tour Highlights 2009-2012
Between 2009 and 2012 a new generation of players arrived on the ATP Champions Tour. Former World No.1’s Carlos Moya and Marat Safin, Britain’s Tim Henman and Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist all began playing on the circuit for tennis greats, as did two players that had previously resisted the temptation - Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg.
In 2009, Enqvist was the dominant player of the year. Looking little different to the man that reached the Australian Open final ten years before, he won 3 titles in his first year.
The season-ending event at the Royal Albert Hall saw one of the best finals the circuit had ever seen, with two old-style serve-and-volley players, Edberg and Pat Rafter going head to head. It ended 6-7(5), 6-4, 11-9, with Rafter eventually coming out on top.
The following year, a host of new cities were added to the calendar, with Delray Beach, Zurich, Bogota, Knokke-Heist in Belgium and Sydney all joining the schedule.
Rafter continued where he left off, winning the title in Delray Beach and defeating evergreen John McEnroe in the final. Edberg then put his London disappointment behind him to win the inaugural title in Zurich, beating Goran Ivanisevic in the final. Enqvist won the two South American stops in Bogota and Sao Paulo, while Ivanisevic bagged the Barcelona title. The 1997 US Open runner-up Greg Rusedski lifted a couple of titles in Algarve and Chengdu, with Ivanisevic lifting the Knokke-Heist trophy and then finishing the year in perfect style by winning in London for the first time.
In 2011, the ATP Champions Tour was the battleground for one of the best contests for the No.1 ranking in the history of the circuit. It was between the two-time Grand Slam runner-up Mark Philippoussis and the 1998 French Open champion Moya. Philippoussis started like a train, winning the first three events of the year in Delray Beach, Zurich and Bogota, beating Moya in the final of the last of them. Moya, who joined the circuit in 2011, responded by reeling off titles in Sao Paulo, Knokke-Heist, Chengdu and Santiago to finish as the No.1 player.
“For the first year to finish at Number One is all I could hope for, it’s great," said Moya. “I was lucky in some ways but now I am very relieved that I am sure to be Number One at the end of the year.”
In the season-finale in London, two age groups were formed for the first time. Tim Henman won his first title, and in the older Legends group, John McEnroe showed his form and fitness to triumph.
Moya continued his impressive form in 2012, winning the Delray Beach title and beating Lendl in the final. McEnroe also won back-to-back tournaments by lifting the Stockholm title in its inaugural year, and then Moya won a classic battle of styles with Edberg in Zurich. Moya’s sensational form continued in Bogota with another title, and then in Sao Paulo it was Enqvist who got back on the winning trail. Ivanisevic successfully defended his title in Knokke-Heist, while in London Fabrice Santoro won his maiden ATP Champions Tour title, and McEnroe again won the Legends. The year concluded with victory for Enqvist in Rio, which was holding a tournament for the very first time.