Tennis greats John McEnroe, Björn Borg, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander and Marcelo Rios will take to the court in Chengdu this November as part of the only Asian stop on the 12-leg ATP Champions Tour, it was announced yesterday.
The Chengdu Open will be held November 5-8 at the 6,700-seat Sichuan Tennis Centre and will feature eight players divided into two groups for round-robin play. The winners of each group will play in the final.
McEnroe, Borg, Chang, Wilander and Rios have won a combined total of 26 Grand Slam singles titles. When they were at the top of their game, tennis was virtually nonexistent in China, but today China is increasingly considered a rising tennis power.
"I am extremely excited to be making my first trip to China in a very long time; this is a country that is fast becoming a major player in world tennis," the 50-year-old McEnroe said.
Borg, who retired from tennis at the age of 26 in 1983, said he was looking forward to playing in the same field as McEnroe, against whom he played several legendary matches.
Participants in the Chengdu Open will hold clinics with local youth to develop tennis at the grassroots level, organizers said.
The Chengdu Open is coorganized by the Chinese Tennis Association, Sichuan Sports Bureau, Chengdu Sports Bureau, Chengdu Sports Industry Co and CCTV IMG Sports Management Company. The website chengduchampions.com has been launched to provide updates and news in the runup to the tournament in November.
John McEnroe image: USA Today