Dudi Sela looks set to have an ATP tournament on home soil to look forward to, with Ramat Hasharon expected to replace St. Petersburg as the host of a 250 series event in September..
(photo credit: OFRA FRIEDMAN, ITA)
The Israel Tennis Association officially confirmed on Tuesday that Ramat Hasharon will host an ATP World Tour 250 event in place of St. Petersburg between September 15 and 21.
The event will be relocated to Israel from Russia following the approval of the tournament’s request by the ATP Board of Directors at its meetings in Monte Carlo this week. The approval is subject to final agreement of conditions between ATP and the tournament.
“After 19 memorable years in St. Petersburg, the time has come for us to take the tournament in a new direction,” said tournament representative Ruslan Linkov. “We are very excited about the opportunities that lie in Tel Aviv.”
The tournament will offer $1 million in prize money, with the ATP World Tour to return to Israel for the first time since 1996.
The Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center hosted an ATP event for nine consecutive years between 1987 and 1996. Ramat Hasharon will also host Israel’s Davis Cup World Group playoff tie versus Argentina over the weekend of September 12-14.
Israeli-Georgian billionaire, Mikhael Mirilashvili, based in Israel and Russia, is the majority owner of the tournament and is believed to be behind the decision to relocate the event due to the political situation in Ukraine and the disappointing income generated in St. Petersburg in past years.