Top 10: Biggest non-Grand Slam tournaments on the tennis tours
The Miami Open is drawing to an end and that sparks an important question: What are the biggest tournaments in tennis outside the Grand Slams? Reuben Young gives us his top ten.
10. Canadian Open
The Canadian Open is quite unique in the sense that it has alternate hosts.
Since 1980, Montreal hostS the ATP Masters 1000 in odd-numbered years while Toronto hostS the WTA Premier Five event, then they switch for even-numbered years.
Ivan Lendl has the most titles to his name here, with an impressive six.
The Masters 1000 event is 50 years old this year and is the last tournament before the ATP Tour Finals at the end of the year, therefore deciding who will grasp the last remaining qualifying spots. It is also the only Masters event played on indoor Hard courts, giving it an extra special something.
Novak Djokovic has won the event an impressive four times and is the only person to have ever successfully defended his titles.
American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan have also claimed the doubles title four times, with their last victory coming in 2014.
The only Masters event not played in Europe or North America, and subsequently brings something different with it.
Played on a state of the art 15,000 capacity stadium over eight days there is a whopping $1.2million prize money up for grabs.
Previously, it was the venue for the end of year tournament, and was named a Masters event in 2009 with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray enjoying the greatest success in it, claiming three titles each.
Indian doubles star Leander Paes has also won the event three times, impressively each time with a different partner.
7. Monte Carlo
The clay court Master events has been running since 1897, which is a staggering 127 years. However, only in 1990 did it get Masters status, but has always been one of the top tournaments outside of the Grand Slams.
The facilities and organisers may be stressed with its packed one week schedule, but that doesn’t stop the top tennis talents from trying to take home their slice of the 935,000 euros prize money.
The king of clay Rafael Nadal has, unsurprisingly, reigned supreme with 10 Monte Carlo titles, while in the doubles Mike and Bob Bryan and Nenad Zimonjic have five titles each to their name.
Another event that is ingrained in the tennis Tour for decades gone is the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Founded in 1899, it is the second oldest tournament in America.
Not only is it part of the Masters events, but also the WTA’s five Premier events.
A $10million upgrade to the facilities in 2009 saw a new court, greater space for players, and additional seating installed and the event become a fan favourite in the fall season as a result.
World number one Roger Federer has the most men’s singles titles with seven, with his last coming in 2015. Americans Ruth Cordes and Clara Zinke share five titles each in the women’s game, both having played in the 1920s and 30s.
Another prestigious event based in America and some argue it is the ‘fifth Grand Slam’. We are unconvinced, but it may well have been further down this list would it not be for the decaying venue.
However, given it is one of the few Masters based over 12 days, it does seem to put on a good show.
Founded in 1985 and based in Key Biscayne, the event has been criticised in the past for the slowest hardcourts on tour, causing gruelling rallies in a midday heat.
However, in 2011, over 311,000 people visited Crandon Park over the two weeks showing it deserves its recognition as one of the biggest events outside of the four majors.
Serena Williams holds the most titles with eight, while in the men’s game both Djokovic and Andre Agassi are tied on six titles each.
Former tennis professional and now billionaire businessman Ion Tiriac has owned the event since 2009, and with revenues of over 200million euros it demonstrates the status the event carries in the modern age.
Impressive facilities haven’t always brought the crowds to match at the Madrid Open, but that hasn’t stopped Nadal from winning it five times.
The event has only been on the WTA Tour since 2009, with Petra Kvitora, Serena Williams and Simona Halep having all grasped the title twice.
The Italian Open has a rich history dating back to 1930 with both the ATP and WTA Tour viewing the event as a significant tournament outside of the majors.
Played on the prestigious red clay during the second week of May, it is also seen as a key warm-up for the French Open.
As with all clay titles, Rafael Nadal is likely to dominate, and so he has taking the title seven times since 2005. Chris Evert has claimed five women’s titles from 1974 to 1982.
2. Indian Wells
Perhaps controversial to have this above its Sunshine Double partner of Miami, but Indian Wells is arguably the biggest event outside of the Grand Slam’s and end of year Tour Finals.
A 12 days draw that see’s 96 players battle it out for $1.4m in prize money, the top players from Europe much prefer playing this event than most others with the main tennis stadium holding a 16,000 capacity – the second largest in the world behind the Arthur Ashe.
Not only that, over 450,000 fans set foot on the 50 acre site in 2015, a number that competes with the ever prestigious Wimbledon that saw just over 485,000 visit in 2012.
The opportunity for growth is also present, with the event owner Larry Ellison being one of the richest men on the planet.
Both Federer and Djokovic have five Indian Wells titles each, with the Swiss winning the most recent one in 2016. On the WTA side, there are nine women that have grasped the title twice including Steffi Graff and Victoria Azarenka, who won the title for the second time in 2016.
1. End of year finals
First founded in 1970 it is the fourth evolution of a men’s end of year tournament. Originally known as the Masters Grand Prix, until the ATP took over proceedings in 1990.
The top eight players in the rankings battle it out through a round robin before a semi-final, while the same points are available as is at a Grand Slam.
The finals have been based in London since 2009, however have travelled around the globe with the first eight years of the event being in a different country each time from Tokyo to Sydney.
Unsurprisingly Roger Federer holds the most titles with six, however his last one came in 2011. Novak Djokovic has won the event five times, four of them coming since 2012.
A similar set up to the men’s, the top eight singles and doubles players in the world qualify for the finals.
The event was first held in 1972 in Florida as an end year climatic tournament. However changed to October till 1974, until it was switched to March till 1986 as the playing season calendar was altered. When the WTA adopted a January-November season, once again the event moved to the end of the year.
Located in America till a move for a year in 2001 to Munich, it sparked the similar change in location as the male end of year event. Since 2006, Madrid, Doha, Istanbul and now Singapore have all been the home of the WTA finals.
The prize money is also the largest on offer in the women’s Tour outside of the majors, while Martin Navratilova is the most successful women at the event, winning six singles and 13 doubles titles.
There has been a different champion for the last three years, however Serena Williams has taken the title four times since 2009.
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