WILMINGTON (USA): A federal jury on Tuesday cleared the way for the ATP Tour’s planned tournament restructuring next year, rejecting antitrust claims in a lawsuit filed by the German Tennis Federation.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in Wilmington deliberated about nine hours before upholding the ATP’s tournament restructuring, which would move the Hamburg clay court event from May to July and eliminate it as a key tune-up for Roland Garros.

The German federation argued the ATP is illegally trying to lock up the market for player services and tournament sanctions.

The federation claims the reorganisation is the result of collusion among officers for ATP and the owners of certain favoured tournaments acting in their own self-interests.

ATP gratified

“The ATP is terrifically gratified with the decision,” said ATP attorney Bradley Ruskin. “ATP took the steps that it believed is right and is going to help improve the game of tennis.”

Under the tournament reorganisation, top-ranked ATP players would be required to play in each of eight top-tier tournaments, known as the Master Series 1000, and four of 11 tournaments in the second-tier Master Series 500.

With the year-end Masters Cup event, the four non-ATP Grand Slam tournaments and Davis Cup matches representing a full calendar, marquee players were likely to to pass up Hamburg, MacGill argued.

The plan would make Madrid and Rome the only clay court Masters tournaments leading up to Roland Garros. — AP

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