One of four Chinese events on the ATP Tour calendar, the China Open is held at the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center, the site of the 2008 Olympic Games.
The event would have been held this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the ATP 500 tournament.
An Exclusive Honour Roll
Since its first edition in 2004, the event has been dominated by players who have reached the top positions in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Of the 10 different players to have lifted the singles title, eight have been ranked in the Top 5 during their careers. Five of those players — Marat Safin (2004), Rafael Nadal (2005, ’17), Andy Roddick (2008), Novak Djokovic (2009-‘10, ’12-’15) and Andy Murray (2016) — have occupied the World No. 1 spot.
Many former World No. 1 doubles stars have triumphed in Beijing. Bob Bryan (2009-’10, ’12), Mike Bryan (2009-’10, ’12), Nenad Zimonjic (2011), Max Mirnyi (2013), Henri Kontinen (2017), Lukasz Kubot (2018) and Marcelo Melo (2018) have all lifted the trophy in the Chinese capital.
No Stopping Novak
Between 2009 and 2015, Djokovic won each of his 29 matches in Beijing to claim a tournament record six titles. The World No. 1, who missed the 2011 edition of the tournament, has only dropped three sets across his six appearances in Beijing. During that time, Djokovic contested 13 matches against Top 20 opponents.
In his most recent tournament appearance in 2015, the Serbian lost a combined 14 games against Simone Bolelli, Zhang Ze, John Isner and David Ferrer to book a second final meeting against Nadal in three years. Djokovic broke the Spaniard on four occasions in the final to secure a 6-2, 6-2 win and a record-extending sixth Beijing crown.
On his tournament debut in 2005, a 19-year-old Nadal became the youngest champion in tournament history. The Spaniard came from a set down against Guillermo Coria in the final to clinch his 10th tour-level crown in a breakthrough 2005 ATP Tour season.
After losses to Djokovic in the 2013 and 2015 championship matches, Nadal ended a 12-year wait to clinch his second singles trophy at the event in 2017. From the quarter-finals, Nadal beat Top 20 stars John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios to also become the oldest champion in tournament history. Both age-related records stand to this day.
Nadal, who earned the 2008 Olympic Games singles gold medal at the venue, is also a former doubles champion in Beijing. Alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, Nadal claimed the doubles trophy in 2016 to become the only player in tournament history to have won both the singles and doubles events.
Bryans In Beijing
Three of Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan’s four Chinese tour-level crowns have been won in Beijing. The American twins own the tournament record for doubles trophies, having won the event on three occasions between 2009 and 2012.
The Bryans won their opening 10 matches at the ATP 500, earning the 2009 and 2010 trophies before a semi-final loss to eventual champions Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic in 2011. One year later, the pair returned to win a record-extending third team title without dropping a set. The Bryans are the only team to have won multiple titles at the tournament.
‘A Support Like No Other’
One of the distinctive features of the China Open is its devoted fans. The unique support shown by Chinese supporters is appreciated by the top players on the ATP Tour, including six-time champion Djokovic.
“There is a huge support, not just for me, but for a lot of top players in China. A support like no other around the world,” said Djokovic.
Beijing’s fans are not only known for their support in the stands. When they are lucky enough to meet their favourite players, they often have unique gifts ready to hand over. At last year’s event, 2016 champion Murray received a fish fossil from one of his supporters.
“I got given the other day like a fish fossil. That’s what it was, wasn’t it? It was really, really old. I don’t know how old. I got given that,” said Murray. “It was just pretty thoughtful. I’ve never been given that before, anything like that.”