It was on February 15, 2014 that it all started. On this date, the Rio Open, the biggest tennis tournament in South America and one of the main ones in Latin America, held the first games in its history on the courts of the Jockey Club Brasileiro. To mark the 10th anniversary of the event in 2024 - and also the tenth edition of the competition, scheduled for February 17th to 25th -, the Rio Open organization will begin official celebrations this September. The “first serve” was given with the launch of the manifesto for the 10th anniversary of the tournament, and also the commemorative stamp.
The manifesto written especially to mark the first decade of the Rio Open's existence, and also with a video version under the unmistakable voice of journalist Flávia Oliveira, rescues several facets of the tournament's history. On the court, the event gained global prominence mainly through the international stars who passed through the clay courts set up at the Brazilian Jockey Club, the countless champions recognized in singles and doubles competitions, the emotional tributes to the legends Maria Esther Bueno in 2014 and Gustavo Kuerten two years later (when the central court was named after Guga), and hundreds of breathtaking matches.
Outside of the four lines, the Rio Open was also notable for its enormous national and international reach. To date, there have been more than 600 thousand fans present in the stands, not counting the more than 140 countries that have shown the tournament on television, totaling more than 3 thousand hours of transmission per edition of the tournament. The event also gained prominence due to the enormous positive impact on the state and city of Rio de Janeiro, through the generation of new businesses and jobs, boosting strategic sectors such as tourism, not to mention social and sustainability actions.
All these nuances of the history of the Rio Open are portrayed in the manifesto that has just been released by the tournament organizers.
“Seeing the Rio Open reach its 10th anniversary is a source of great joy and pride for all of us. The consolidation of the tournament on the national and international sporting scene is the realization of a great dream. A dream that involved gaining the trust of athletes, the public, the press, sponsors and public bodies. This is what allowed hundreds of athletes to pass through our courts, including big names and great promises. A beautiful job carried out by a team that is passionate about what they do, tireless, committed and makes a difference. One of the hallmarks of the Rio Open culture is that we never operate in our comfort zone, that we never settle. Now, we are preparing for the future. The next edition will be marked by exciting moments. On and off the courts”, said Marcia Casz, general manager of the Rio Open.
The Rio Open was born in 2014 as a prestigious and relevant tournament on the ATP circuit, and in just a few years it has become a traditional event in world tennis. In its debut year, the competition was attended by Spaniard Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest tennis players in history, holder of 92 titles, including 22 Grand Slams. At the time, Nadal competed in the Rio Open as leader of the ATP rankings and confirmed his favoritism by becoming champion, defeating Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final.
Since then, countless international stars have passed through the Rio Open. The list of big names in international tennis who played in the Marvelous City is extensive, and brings together tennis players such as the Spanish Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Robredo and Nicolás Almagro, the French Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Austrian Dominic Thiem, the Japanese Kei Nishikori, the Croatians Marin Cilic and Borna Coric, the Americans John Isner and Jack Sock, the Italians Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Musetti and Matteo Berrettini, the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Argentinean Diego Schwartzman , Norwegian Casper Ruud and current champion Cameron Norrie, among others.
More recently, the position of star of the Rio Open became one of the biggest revelations in world tennis in recent times. Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz was the Rio Open champion in 2022 at the age of 18, being the youngest in history to win an ATP 500, and in the same year he reached the top of the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.
Before becoming one of the biggest phenomenons in the sport, Alcaraz appeared at the Rio Open for the first time in 2020 at the age of 16, when he was 406th in the rankings. At the time, he received an invitation from the organization to compete in the Rio tournament and won his first career match on the ATP circuit.
In the gallery of champions, the Rio Open, in addition to featuring Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Carlos Alcaraz, also has the Austrian Dominic Thiem (winner in 2017, when he occupied eighth place in the ATP rankings), the British Cameron Norrie, current holder of the trophy after beating Carlos Alcaraz in February this year, among other renowned tennis players on the circuit in the hall of fame.
The great history of the tournament was also a stage for national tennis, which saw moments such as Thiago Monteiro's first victory in an ATP main draw, at the age of 21, against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, at the time number 9 in the world, the super Grand Slam champions Bruno Soares and Marcelo Melo playing at home, the ATP debut of young João Fonseca, who recently won the US Open youth title and reached number 1 in the world in the ITF rankings, and much more.
“We are very proud of the history of the Rio Open, which in such a short time has become one of the most traditional and relevant tournaments on the ATP circuit. The vast majority of the best clay players of recent times have passed through the courts of the Brazilian Jockey Club. Names like Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Casper Ruud, Dominic Thiem, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Carlos Alcaraz and many others greatly enhance our trajectory. But there is still a lot to come. The 10th anniversary edition of the Rio Open promises to be full of unforgettable moments on and off the courts”, said Luiz Carvalho, tournament director of the Rio Open.
Outside the court, the Rio Open organization also celebrates important achievements. This year's edition generated more than R$140 million in the economy in the state of Rio de Janeiro, generating 5,000 direct or indirect jobs.
These great numbers were a reflection of the Rio Open's strategy of making the tournament transcend the sport barrier, and also become a festival of entertainment and quality for tennis lovers. In addition to watching the best tennis players in the world in action, fans have the opportunity every year to enjoy a complete experience within the Brazilian Jockey Club. The public can enjoy gastronomic spaces and special activations from the tournament's sponsors and partner brands, not to mention the VIP spaces that offer an exclusive area suitable for relationships and generating new business, characteristics of a sport that provides this environment.
“Being the home of the Rio Open is a source of joy, as well as a lot of responsibility. With each edition, we have surpassed important brands that bring immeasurable benefits to the state of Rio and to the sport. The next event, which marks 10 years of the tournament, has great symbolism and reaffirms our credibility to host major competitions. Furthermore, it shows the importance of our Incentive Law, an instrument that helps to make events like this possible. In this way, we generate a prosperous chain of sports, tourism, economic development and the promotion of social policies”, declared Cláudio Castro, governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro.
“Reaching 10 years reinforces and consolidates the prestige of the Rio Open, one of the most important championships in the sport. Congratulations to the athletes and organizers who made the success of this great sporting event possible, which over the last decade has had Rio de Janeiro as a partner. We, at the State Government, are very proud to be part of this record and we are confident that we will see this brand strengthen even further in the coming years”, said Rafael Picciani, Secretary of Sport and Leisure for the State of Rio de Janeiro.
In the area of sustainability, Rio Open received the Carbon Neutral certificate for the third consecutive edition in 2023, granted by the United Nations (UN). The seal represented recognition of the work to neutralize the carbon emitted by the tournament itself and also in the movement of fans to the sports complex built at the Brazilian Jockey Club, in a joint action between Rio Open and ENGIE.
Rio Open's social initiatives also remain an important pillar, mainly through the Winners Tournament. Created in 2017, the competition that brings together tennis players from sports projects located in vulnerable areas has already provided opportunities for countless young people between 8 and 20 years old, including weeks of training at the IMG Academy in the United States and at the Kirmayr Training Center, in Serra Negra (owned by former tennis player Carlos Alberto Kirmayr), as well as scholarships and the experience of experiencing the Rio Open up close. This month, social actions will continue, with a training course for coaches and line judges, as well as stringing classes.
These initiatives will continue in 2024, in addition to the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Rio Open. In the coming weeks, several new features will be revealed (tennis players who will compete in this special edition of the tournament, actions aimed at the 10th anniversary of the Rio Open, among others), which will make the celebrations even more special.
And tennis fans who want to follow this historic edition of the Rio Open up close will be able to secure their place next month. The pre-sale of tickets exclusively for Claro and Santander customers will take place between the 17th and 23rd of October, and the general sale will start on the 24th.
“Claro is proud to be at the side of the biggest tennis tournament in South America since the first edition and we know that next year will be even more special. In the year in which the Claro brand celebrates 20 years of launch in Brazil, we are also celebrating a decade of Rio Open, a tournament that is part of our history and that brings attributes of our brand, such as fun, connectivity and innovation. In addition to sport, which generates moments of connection between people. This event was the stage for Claro for technological demonstrations that reinforced our pioneering spirit and innovation DNA, such as the 5G and 4.5G cases and experiences in augmented and virtual reality, in addition to other major milestones. Sport is one of Claro's sponsorship and communication pillars and we continue with this successful partnership with the expectation of providing even more excitement, entertainment and technology for the event's fans”, celebrates Ane Lopes, Director of Brand and Communication at Claro.