Monte Carlo settles suit with ATP, to forgo player commitments

WILMINGTON, Del. -- The Monte Carlo clay-court tennis
tournament dropped its federal suit against the ATP Tour and agreed
to forgo the mandatory player commitments other top-tier events

The change takes effect in 2009, when the ATP unveils a new
calendar. As part of a settlement announced Tuesday, Monte Carlo
will keep its current mid-April spot on the calendar, and will have
the same rankings points and prize money as eight other top-tier

"This allows us to continue with development of the 2009
calendar, and the changes that we believe are necessary," ATP
spokesman Kris Dent said. "It's a good outcome in that it
preserves and respects Monte Carlo."

A lack of mandatory player commitments likely means a weaker
field for Monte Carlo, but tournament director Zeljko Franulovic
said he was satisfied with the settlement.

"In 2009, Monte Carlo will retain its top-tier status among ATP
tournaments," Franulovic said in an e-mail. "We believe that this
settlement will preserve and build upon Monte Carlo's cherished
over-100-year tradition."

The ATP had sought to downgrade the Monte Carlo tournament,
first held in 1897. It has been a part of the ATP's Masters Series
since that level began in 2000.

The Masters Series, which will be dropped under the new
calendar, consists of events one level below the Grand Slam

The German Tennis Federation, seeking to block the ATP from
downgrading the Hamburg Masters tournament, also filed suit in
Delaware -- the ATP's corporate home. That suit remains pending.

Monte Carlo and Hamburg are part of the European clay-court
season leading up to the French Open.