Basically, from 2004 every top player competed at the Beijing's China Open, except Roger Federer. On that week, the Swiss only played once, in 2006 Tokyo winning the title. In an exclusive chat with Tennis World USA, the Tournament Director Thomas Ross commented on the reasons why they never managed to secure the 20 time-Grand Slam winner.
'Am confident the problem with Roger is not any lack of interest on his part in coming to Beijing', Ross clarified. 'It's his schedule. Post-US Open for him is a very full one, especially beginning last year with the creation of Laver Cup.
He then has the Rolex event in Shanghai, and of course he still plays events in Europe before the [ATP] Finals. Of course it would be terrific to have Roger one year, and we will always inquire with his management, but it's typically a formality.
We respect his schedule, and we wish him well. This is the reality of Roger Federer in that part of the year.' Chinese events get often criticized because of lack of fans, but Ross insisted that in Beijing certain courts may appear less than full because there are many fans in other areas around the venue.
'Thankfully there are few of those issues in Beijing, because we have over 200,000 spectators during the event. There is no other event in Asia that is close in attendance. That's number one. Number two, you have to bear in mind that we have four stadiums featuring men's and women's matches, and additional match courts as well', he said.
Speaking about the tournament goals, Ross said: 'We are of course a Premier Mandatory on the WTA side, and we hope to become a Masters 1000 on the ATP calendar. The Tour is aware of our goals. Shanghai does a wonderful job with their men's event, but we are in the capital of China, staging a combined event, so in more ways we are similar to Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome.
I think it's only a matter of time, because the sport continues to grow in Asia, especially in China. We have the financial resources, the facilities, and so we hope as the time becomes right politically that the Tour will support it.' ALSO READ: People are upset because Roger Federer didn't win Wimbledon, says Rusedski