MELBOURNE • Novak Djokovic yesterday called for the ATP Tour Finals to move away from their London base, saying the season-ender is a big asset that should be exploited more.
In its current format, the elite US$8 million (S$10.6 million) tournament has been held in the British capital since 2009. But with the announcement that Shenzhen in China will host the WTA Finals from next year, with prize money doubled to US$14 million, the 30-year-old Serb said it made sense for the men's event to also cash in.
"I mean, that's a big success for WTA, for all the female players. They deserve it," he said at the Australian Open. "When it comes down to World Tour Finals, for us and the ATP, London has been a great success for us."
But Djokovic, who is president of the ATP Tour Player Council, added that it may be time for the event to now "travel".
"Because it's just probably the biggest leverage that we have. I mean, outside Grand Slams, ATP is obviously not behind Grand Slams (which are International Tennis Federation events). This is the biggest event that ATP has," said the former world No. 1.
"I think it's probably the biggest asset. Best eight players in the world, singles players, best doubles players, are playing there."
He acknowledged that London was a "safe" option and virtually all players only had praise for the event, but suggested it could be "exploited a little bit more".
"It should be leveraged more because of the promotion of our sport," said the 12-time Major champion. "If we want to grow our sport, especially in regions like China or those parts of the world where tennis is popular, I think we should think about it, just maybe travel it a little bit more."
He said he was not pinpointing China as a possible new venue, where women's tennis is more popular thanks to the exploits of players such as two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na, but it could be an option.