Pop singer Jane Zhang(left) and Yang Kun pose with tennis rackets at the press conference of China Open tennis tournament in Beijing August 25, 2009. [chinaopen.com.cn]
The fifth China Open tennis tournament will be held at tennis courts on Olympic Green in Beijing in early October. Ticketing>>
It coincides with China's seven-day national holiday for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China from October 1st.
The event organizer said on Tuesday that the 10-day tournament had been upgraded to one of the top-tier Asian events, putting it just a step below the four annual grand slams. Major global brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and IBM have signed up as sponsors.
Chinese fans will see Rafael Nadal of Spain play the same court where he clinched the Olympic singles title last year, as well as top-ranked players Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic. Chinese hopefuls Li Na, Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai will also compete for the title named after their country.
Chinese tennis has raised its profile recently, as Li Ting and Sun Tiantian won the 2004 Athens Olympics doubles gold, and doubles specialists Zheng Jie and Yan Zi won the doubles tournaments at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Li Na is ranked 18th in the world and Zheng Jie is 21st, making them the highest ranked Asians on the tour.
The contest will have a theme song for the first time, sung by pop singers Jane Zhang and Yang Kun.
(China Daily August 28, 2009)