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China Open upgrades into top

http://sports.sina.com.cn 2007年11月06日10:00  AFP

  The official news conference of China Open 2007 was held on Nov.5th, 2007 in Beijing Shangri-la Hotel, celebrating the upgrade of China Open into ATP 500 Series. At the news conference, the organizing committee of China Open announced that: Beijing has become one of the ten cities that held the ATP500 Series, and the male event of China Open has upgraded from a secondary tournament to ATP 500 Series. Earlier this year, the female event of China Open has already successfully upgraded to a Crown-Pearl tournament. So form 2009, the level of China Open will take a huge leap, and China Open will truly become a world-class integrated tennis tournament that has the highest level in Asia.

  ATP 500 Series is the second significant professional male tennis event, only secondary to the Master Series. There will be 10 stations from 2009. The champion can achieve 500 points, which is greatly enhanced comparing to the points of China Open in the past.

  After four years of efforts, China Open has upgraded to an international tennis tournament that has an independent brand of China its own. From 2009, the male and female races will take place in the same week in turn, and this will make “China Open” one of the few tournaments that have the male and female races held over the same period, apart from the four Grand Slams. This obviously has great significance in promoting the brand of China Open.

  Mr. Sun KangLin, the executive chairman of the organizing committee of China Open, the vice chief secretary of the Beijing Government and the Administrator of Beijing Sports Bureau said that the upgrade of China Open is a bright spot in the sustainable development of Beijing industry: “Rapid development of the sports industry in China has been inspired by the 2008 Olympic Games. As an elegant and mainstream sport, tennis will certainly benefit from it. The good sports atmosphere, excellent venues and hardware conditions brought by the Olympics have together provided a good environment for the future development of China Open. The Beijing financial bureau has also set up a special fund for sports this year, and this also plays an important role in creating excellent sport events in Beijing. The male event of China Open has also successfully upgraded to ATP 500 Series following the upgrade of female event to SE WTA Crown-Pearl Tournament. This means that China Open is continuously growing from immature to mature, improving in several crucial aspects, including business development, event organization, services for players, promotions and other areas. The experiences of the past four years make the operation of the event much easier for the organizing committee of China Open. To ensure a good brand and a high level of the event, we hope that the organizing ability of China Open could further improve, aiming to accelerate the convergence with the international environment and continuously improve the influence of the event. The goal is to not only make China Open an international sports event for Beijing, but also make it the leading and exemplary event for Beijing and a bright spot for the sustainable development of the sports industry in Beijing after the Olympics”.

  As the vice chairman of the organizing committee of China Open and the vice director of tennis management center of National Administration of Sports, Mr. Gao Shenyang claimed that tennis has experienced a blossom development in China, “With the integration of ATP, WTA and ITF, China Open settled in Beijing four year ago and has become permanent sport events ever since. Two years ago, the Master Cup also settled in Shanghai. These are all strong evidence of the vigorous development of sports industry in China. Now we are celebrating the comprehensive upgrade of China Open in 2009. China Open will become a world-class top tennis tournament. Tennis has become prosperous more than ever in China. China Open is progressing continuously every year. The male event has also successfully upgraded after the female event, and this is undoubtedly another strong evidence of the rapid development of tennis market and the promotion of international status of tennis sport in China”.

  After the upgrade, China Open will experience the following four significant changes:

  1. About the level of event: The female Crown-Pearl tournament is the highest level competition apart form the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon Championship and U.S. Open. The level of male “500 Events” is only lower than the four Grand Slams and the 9-station “1000 Events”. As a whole, the level of China Open is the highest apart form the four Grand Slams as the male and female events will be held over the same period, and together with the Indian Wells Station, Miami stations and the Madrid station they are named the "four Super Tournaments".

  2. About the entries lineup: The top 50 female players must participate in the female Crown-Pearl tournament. The top 10 female players will be subjected to severe penalties if they resigned from the race. The top male players must participate in one of the stations of the male “500 Events” after the US Open. They can only choose one of the four stations in Beijing, Tokyo, Basel (Switzerland) or Valencia (Spain), and they must participate in 4 of the 10 stations of the “500 Events” in a year. These rules mean that Henin, Sharapova, the Williams sisters and other top female players will certainly take part in the female event in Beijing from 2009 onwards. Also a large number of the top 20 male players will come to entries in the male event.

  3. About the total prize money: The total prize money will be not less than 4 million dollars for the female Crown-Pearl event and not less than 2 million dollars for the male “500 Events”. This is undoubtedly a tremendous temptation for top tennis players since the total prize money for the male event in China Open was only about 500 thousand dollars before. It is fair to say that this upgrade greatly changes the status of China Open in the eyes of the top male players.

  4. About international influence: Since the day of birth, China Open has attracted Safin, Nadal, Sharapova, Serena Williams, Davenport, Mauresmo, Hingis and other top players around the world to participate. As in 2008 there will be Olympics in Beijing, all the tennis stars that came to Beijing and participated in China Open 2007 have expressed their intentions to take part in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. As the influence of the Beijing Olympics could radiate and the level of China Open 2009 has become the highest besides the four Grand Slams, China Open will certainly still attract the best players around the world to participate in 2009.

  It is learned that with the growth of popularity of the competition, the number of audience of China Open also increases every year. As for the players, more top players have participated in China Open each year. More than 400 players from about 40 countries have played in China Open. With the level of players growing and the influence increasing, China Open has become one of the top races in which the outstanding male and female tennis players all over the world actively participate.

  In 2007, China Open has become better and better. According to statistics, there was a total of near 200 thousand attendances in China Open this year, which is a slight growth than last year. Other than that, more than 360 domestic and foreign journalists from 136 media and news agencies reported the events, also more than last year’s. And comparing to previous events, the biggest difference is the increasing of more entertainment factors, letting the audience have more participatory. China Open is more like a tennis festival now.

  Going into the four year along with China Open, the business development of China Open has also progressed form a quantitative change to a qualitative change. The business development in 2007 has a 30% increase comparing to 2006. 10 noted Chinese and foreign companies, including CCTV, KAPPA, Mercedes-Benz, Qingdao beer, Rolex, JiaDeLe, Panasonic, Canon, Sony Ericsson and CITIC Bank, has become sponsorship partners of China Open 2007. Two of these companies are also sponsors of the Olympic Games. Benz-DaimlerChrysler Beijing has become the chief sponsor of China Open, and this powerful alliance again highlights the influence of China Open. A series of development indicate that China Open is rapidly growing and moving forward to a brighter tomorrow.

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