Athens Likely to Host ATP Tournament in 2020
According to reports, the ATP tour will head back to Greece in 2020 after a 26-year hiatus.
Athens previously hosted a combined ATP and WTA tournament on clay courts at the Athens Lawn Tennis Club from 1986 to 1990. From 1991 to 1994, only an ATP tournament was held there. Since then, in addition to hosting tennis at the 2004 Olympics, Greece also hosted several challenger tournaments (though none since 2012). With the recent boom in Greek tennis due to the success of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari, Greece is long overdue for another big tennis event.
While nothing has been said about a women’s tournament in Greece, the announcement of an ATP tournament can only be seen as a step in the right direction. Considering the fact that Greece hasn’t even hosted a single challenger tournament since 2012, the news may have come as a surprise to most people. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas’ participation in the tournament will certainly draw large crowds.
The event will probably be an ATP 250 tournament held in April or May, and on clay courts. The historic Panathenaic Stadium is rumored to be the first choice for the venue, which would host the tournament along with the nearby Athens Lawn Tennis Club. The second option is the already-existing Olympic Tennis Centre at OAKA. In that case, the hard courts there would have to be temporarily (or permanently) replaced with clay. The Hellenic Tennis Federation (OAKA) announced that the third option would be to host it on indoor clay courts in Heraklion on the island of Crete.
Last year, Tsitsipas alluded to the plans for this event to be held at the Panathenaic Stadium. “It is in Athens of course, but I was surprised at the location because it’s actually very clever to stage this tournament there,” said Tsitsipas.
More details are expected to be released in an official announcement the next few days.