New BB&T Atlanta Open tournament director Eddie Gonzalez says that the United States must not lose any more pro tournaments.
Three California tournaments — Los Angeles, Carlsbad and San Jose — recently went abroad. The USTA just sold the rights to the New Haven WTA tournament to the State of Connecticut (the sale still has to be approved by the state’s Capital Region Development Authority later this week, but approval is expected) at a discount in order to keep the event at home.
Gonzalez believes the decrease in domestic events has contributed to the decline of top American male players.
“From a global perspective it’s great there is so much interest from South America and Asia, but whether it’s Carlsbad going to Tokyo or San Jose going to Brazil, or LA going to Bogota, domestically it hurts us,” Gonzalez told Daily Tennis Business. “I think there is a direct correlation between our reduction in men’s ATP events and the lack of U.S. men in the Top 10. When I came out of college there were about 30 pro events in the U.S. and now there are 10 in the U.S. and that includes the U.S. Open, the [Masters] 1000s and ours. As the governing body that owns this event — 75 percent ownership by the Southern section and 25 percent by the USTA Nationals — we have to protect it.
"Our mission is to grow tennis at all levels and if we don't have the opportunity for our American kids to stay home and earn a living and points — right now they have to chase points and money across the globe and that hurts. We want all our top American players here and then to use it as springboard for those players on the cusp and maybe they make a breakthrough here that propels them to reach the second week of the majors.”