© Russ Adams

Few tennis media conferences have resonated like 'The Parking Lot Press Conference', a seminal moment in ATP history.

ATP 50: Parking Lot Press Conference Paved The Way

World's leading players were demanding change in 1988

Back in 1972, the ATP was formed at the US Open in a move that revolutionised the sport. Fast forward 16 years and the world’s leading players arrived in New York at the hard-court major demanding further change.

As part of ATP’s anniversary celebrations, ATPTour.com has identified 50 game-changing moments of the past 50 years and collated them in an immersive feature. Here we look at how the 'Parking Lot Press Conference' in 1988 paved the way for the creation of the ATP Tour in 1990.

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With the ATP logo hastily duct-taped to the podium, a rented PA system and a parking lot for a venue, the press conference of 30 August 1988 that crystallized momentum for the birth of the ATP Tour could be called 'no frills' at best. But as ATP CEO Hamilton Jordan delivered ‘Tennis at the Crossroads’, a critique of the opportunities and problems facing men's professional tennis, the gathering outside the gates of the US Open had immediate — and lasting — impact.

Its roots were long-standing, but in the space of 16 months men’s professional tennis changed irrevocably due to the foresight of the ATP Board, the world’s leading players and the political nous of one man — a former Chief of Staff to US President Jimmy Carter — determined to make a positive change for a sport that had been in a state of flux.

When the Association of Tennis Professionals was created in 1972, the founding fathers had debated the option of creating their own circuit. But, without the financial security and the confidence to do it, it joined tournament directors and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to form the Men's International Professional Tennis Council (MIPTC), which ran the men’s circuit from 1974 to 1989.

By late 1986, players were unhappy with the way tennis was being marketed and frustrated by regularly seeing its three Council representatives outvoted by a total of six ITF and tournament reps. Cue Jordan's intervention, and one of the most momentous days in the sport’s history.

From classic matches to legendary players, relive all 50 game-changing moments.

Read more special features in our ATP50 series.

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