LONDON (AFP) - Tennis' ATP World Tour Finals will remain in London until 2018, the event's head Chris Kermode revealed on Thursday.
With the latest edition of the prestigious season-ending tournament set to get under way on Sunday, ATP chief executive Kermode confirmed that a deal had been agreed for London to play host to the world's top eight players for three more years.
Since first staging the Tour Finals in 2009, the 02 Arena in south-east London has proved a huge hit with both the players and the fans who have flocked to fill its 20,000-capacity for the eight-day run each year.
The alternatives were taking the event to Asia, where it has been held before in Shanghai, or moving it elsewhere in Europe, but the economic and sporting success of the event in London persuaded the ATP to keep the tournament by the banks of the River Thames.
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement which will see the tournament celebrate its 10th successive year in London in 2018," Kermode said at the Tour Finals draw in City Hall.
"The tournament has been a spectacular success since moving to the O2 in 2009, generating record crowds, incredible atmospheres and a soaring worldwide TV audience which broke the 100 million mark for the first time last year."
London Mayor Boris Johnson, who had taken part in the draw ceremony, welcomed the news. "Fantastic news that ATP world tour finals staying in Ldn for another 3 years," he tweeted.