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Rio confirmed on 2014 ATP tour

Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro will host a World Tour 500 tennis event next year, ATP officials confirmed.

The tournament, to be held February 17-23, will be part of a four-week clay court programme beginning in Chile`s Vina del Mar before moving to Buenos Aires, Rio and Sao Paulo.

Rio`s inclusion in the ATP World Tour calendar comes at the cost of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico, which has been downgraded to a 250 event and changed from clay to hard court, coinciding with North America`s March hard-court season.

"The four-week South American swing including a new event in Rio de Janeiro is an exciting development for the sport," ATP president Brad Drewett said.

"There are significant opportunities for growth in South America, a region that has become a key focus for us as we look to grow and develop the sport in that territory."

Other changes to the 2014 ATP schedule include a week`s break between the Paris Masters and season-ending ATP finals Nov 16.

The program comprises 61 tournaments in 31 countries and six continents in addition to the Davis Cup and four Grand Slams organised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).