The Tennis Masters Cup is the last stop on the Tennis Masters Series Tour. This is an all-men's international tennis tour, and the Masters Cup is one of the most prestigious awards in men's tennis. At the end of the year, the top eight men's singles players and top eight men's doubles team compete in a round robin format for almost 5 million dollars in total prize money and the chance to end the year as the world's number 1 tennis player. Past winners of the event include Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Boris Becker, and Gustavo Kuerten.
To qualify for the event, professional players must have competed in a certain number of prestigious tennis tournaments. Then, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and Grand Slam Committee compare each player's match statistics.
They compare the number of matches each player has won and lost throughout the entire tennis season. Based on this criteria, the top eight men's singles players and top eight men's doubles teams are chosen to compete at this lucrative event.
The Tennis Masters Cup was started on December 9, 1999. On that day, the Grand Slam Committee, the International Tennis Federation, and the Association of Tennis Professionals decided to combine two men's tournaments into one.
The ATP's World Championship Tour and the men's Grand Slam Cup were combined to create the Tennis Masters Cup. It is an annual event held in various locations all over the world, usually in November. In 2004, the event was scheduled for November 13-21 in Houston, Texas.
Previous cities that have hosted the Tennis Masters Cup include Lisbon (2000), Sydney (2001), Shanghai (2002), and Houston (2003-2004). In Houston, the Tennis Masters Cup was held at the Westside Tennis Club. That venue features an 8,500-seat stadium around a hard court surface.
In 2004, the ATP announced that Shanghai had won the right to host the Tennis Masters Cup from 2005 to 2007. China had hosted the Tennis Masters Cup in 2002. Due to the success of that event, the high ticket sales in 2002, and a six-month bidding process, Shanghai was awarded the right to host the sporting event again. In 2002, over 70 million tickets were sold for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. To hold the athletes and spectators for their next Tennis Masters Cup, China agreed to build the Qi Zhong Tennis Center which has a 15,000-seat capacity on the main court, 40 smaller courts, and covers over 80 acres.
The Tennis Masters Cup is one of the highest awards a player can earn in men's tennis. The hard-surface courts are the fastest courts in tennis and make the Masters Cup even more exciting. It is the season-ending tournament where players can finally be crowned the best player in men's tennis.