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ATP president says body owed $3 million by Rio state government; does not expect to be paid

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RIO DE JANEIRO - President Chris Kermode says the ATP is owed $3 million by Rio de Janeiro's state government— and doesn't expect to get paid.

Kermode said Friday the state government and the tour agreed to end a contract that allowed the 2016 Olympic host city to promote itself at ATP events.

"It's left a very bad taste, to be honest," Kermode said. "We had an agreement with Rio Tourism. We came to a mutual agreement to terminate and the terms were very clear. Unfortunately, we haven't been paid. It's doesn't look as though we are going to be paid."

The conflict with the ATP and Rio's state government is the latest is a string of cancellations of sports-related events. The Soccerex football conference was called off last year in a funding dispute. In January, the 2014 Laureus World Sports Awards — set for Rio — were called off.

The Rio state government couldn't be reached for comment, long after business hours closed Friday.

Brazilian officials are under pressure to stop funding sports events. Brazil is estimated to be spending about $14 billion on this year's World Cup, and a similar amount on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Daily protests at last year's Confederations Cup, a warm-up for the World Cup, centred on poor public services in Brazil with protesters asking why billions are being spent on mega-sports event in a country with stark inequality.

Kermode said the APT had failed in attempts over several months to talk with Rio Gov. Sergio Cabral. Cabral's photograph graces an inside page of the tournament program, welcoming fans to the event.

The inaugural Rio Open is being organized by IMX, a sports and entertainment promoter. IMX bought the tournament from Memphis last year.

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Follow Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP

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