Finals groups named after Smith and Nastase
Originally published on 11/11/15
The ATP launched the Finals Club on Tuesday, in recognition of singles players and doubles teams to have qualified for the season finale since the tournament began in Tokyo in 1970.
This year, the singles groups will be named after former Wimbledon and US Open champion Smith, who won the inaugural Pepsi-Cola Masters in 1970, and Nastase, a four-time winner between 1971 and 1975.
In doubles, Smith will be honoured alongside Arthur Ashe as the winners of the doubles in 1970, while Group B will be named after Peter Fleming and John McEnroe, who won the tournament seven times in a row between 1978 and 1984.
“I look forward to returning to the season finale and to joining many of my fellow competitors from the 1970s in the gallery,” said Smith. “As we marvel at the performances of the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, I will also reflect on the incredible growth of men’s professional tennis and reminisce with rivals turned friends.
“I’ll forever remember winning the very first singles and doubles event in Tokyo in 1970, and I’m truly honoured that the ATP has chosen to celebrate its history by renaming the groups in this way for 2015.”
“This tournament has such a rich and unique history, and the Finals Club will provide us with a great way to celebrate that moving forward,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President.
“Qualifying for this tournament is an incredible achievement in itself. The Finals Club will keep our former players involved with our season-ending event, and we look forward to welcoming players from the 1970s at The O2 this year, as well as players from subsequent decades in years to come.”