John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, two of the most iconic athletes on the planet enjoyed a rivalry that transcended the sport. In 1997, almost three decades after their last Wimbledon final, the pair met for the first time at the inaugural ATP Champions Tour event, at the Royal Albert Hall. Over the next two decades Bjorn and John continued to entertain and thrill packed audiences with their contrasting styles of play and charismatic personalities. Their presence has played a huge part in the success of the ATP Champions Tour, which is now in its 24th year.
Since then, many of the world’s most popular champions have renewed their iconic rivalries on the ATP Champions Tour. Whether it’s Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero reprising their 2003 US Open final, Pat Rafter getting revenge on Goran Ivanisevic from their 2001 Wimbledon final, or Spaniards, Alex Corretja and Carlos Moya sharing a joke during a rematch of their 1998 Roland Garros final, the contrast in playing styles and personalities is still just as gripping to watch.
2019 saw former World No. 3 and 2013 Roland Garros finalist, David Ferrer, and 2006 Australian Open finalist, Marcos Baghdatis, making their debuts on the ATP Champions Tour.
These champions still take great pride in their fitness, reputations and ability to perform, and so the competitiveness and standard of play is incredibly high. Whilst winning is still a major motivation, the players are equally aware of the importance of spectators, media and sponsors and are very happy to interact in a relaxed environment. They engage with fans, spend quality time with sponsors, respond to media requests and take part in entertaining off court activities and appearances.
Events are typically played over two to four days with a mixture of team and individual events in both singles and doubles. To compete on the Tour, players need to have held the World No. 1 ranking, reached a Grand Slam singles final or been a singles player in a victorious Davis Cup team. To add some local interest, each event can also award wild cards to former players of their choice. Over the years, the ATP Champions Tour has also brought entertainment and laughter, thanks to Mansour Bahrami, with his trick shots and comic timing.