The regional Italian capital of Piedmont, Turin, is no stranger to hosting major sports events.
It is the home of Juventus and in 2006 it hosted the Winter Olympics. This weekend, however, Turin begins its run as the site of the ATP Finals.
Staged in London since 2009, 13 other cities have hosted the event prior to that.
The big-money tournament gathers the eight best-performing players on the men’s tour for an end-of-year showdown.
The event’s 12-year residence in London saw a cumulative total of more than 2.5m spectators attend the O2 Arena.
The likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have lifted the title during its London residency.
Former ATP chief executive Chris Kermode bumped up the cash on offer to attract the best players from far and wide.
He said at the time of the Turin announcement: “Italy provides us with one of the strongest and most established tennis markets in Europe.”
The tour has traditionally moved around since its inception in 1970, when it was known as the Masters Grand Prix.
The competition has since been played in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.
Now in a more central European location, and with eight Europeans competing in the singles.
Matteo Berrettini could be the new homeland hero, as Murray was in London.
When the move from London to Turin was announced in 2019, the then-president of the ATP Player Council Djokovic was keen on the shift.
“[The finals are] the biggest and most prestigious event we have at the ATP. It’s a tournament that has historically moved around,” he said.
“I’m very excited to see it move to Turin.
“It’s still a few years away but I know that the players will be very excited to compete there.
“I also hope to be part of what will be a very special event.”
The Serbian is the current No1 and is due to compete at the tournament.
US Open champion Danill Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are also involved.
The Turin deal runs until 2025 and came with the promise of government support that would help to raise prize money further.
The pot in 2019, in London, was $9m in real terms. That figure was set to rise to $14m in 2021, matching the prize money on offer at the equivalent on the women’s tour, the WTA Finals since it moved to Shenzhen two years ago.
However, the knock-on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have slashed the pot to $5.7m for the time being. The women’s event, meanwhile, is down to $5m and has relocated to Guadalajara in Mexico, where it started this week.
Turin was selected as ATP Finals host ahead of Manchester, Tokyo and Singapore. That said, there was little appetite at the time for players to travel much further than Europe.
Italy fitted the bill. A 15,000 capacity stadium in the form of the Pala Alpitour, government backing – though it is uncertain how much of that remains – and a blockbuster roster of European players looking to win.
Turin could have a tough act to follow, though. London brought with it a global city destination, packed audiences and a party atmosphere usually far removed from the sport.
That said, this week the Italian Tennis Federation said it had sold more than 120,000 tickets, raising in excess of €15m in revenues.
“At least 10,000 will be coming from outside of the area of the tournament,” said its president Angelo Binaghi. “Our ambition is to be the best ever for this event. We will organise the best ever indoor tournament despite all the challenges related to the pandemic.”
It looks, therefore, like the money is rolling in, spectators are flocking in numbers and the curtain is ready to rise.
But, as we have seen in recent seasons, off the back of long playing campaigns, it’s the quality of tennis that could make or break Turin.