The 2008 China Open tennis tournament offers fans the chance to play fun games, eat delicious food and take the opportunity to play tennis with the stars.
For the first time, a 500 sqm area has been set up for fans as a games zone, while the caf area has been expanded to 800 sqm and will include famous brands like Starbucks and KFC.
Seafood, Sichuan and Guandong cuisine, hot pot, Beijing roast duck, local fast foods and Muslim food will also be available.
The annual Tsingtao Beer Festival in Qingdao city, Shandong province, will also host events at the China Open.
Ticket sales for the China Open have begun in more than 20 countries, via telephone on 400-707-9999. The local box office hotline is (010) 65516590 and tickets can also be bought online at www.ticketmaster.com.cn and at all Emma Ticketmaster locations.
This year's tournament, for the first time, offers ardent fans package-tickets for all 88 matches, costing 4,600 yuan, 3,500 yuan and 1,200 yuan.
People who buy package tickets will get a ticket for the Linkin Park world tour concert in Beijing, free dinners during the seven-day competition and a free tour of the China Open Carnival.
One of the carnival highlights is the themed concerts every day from star singers.
French ace Richard Gasquet was the first seeded player to arrive in Beijing yesterday.
The world No 12, who has struggled with his form throughout the season, is looking to break his title jinx at the China Open.
But he should face strong resistance as reigning champion Fernando Gonzalez is geared up to defend his title.
Andy Roddick, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Ana Ivanovic, women's defending champion Agnez Szavay and Jelena Jankovic are among the other top stars set to play at the tournament, which begins on Saturday.
Roddick and Ferrer are hoping to win the China Open to make up for their disappointing performances at the US Open last month, where Ferrer was eliminated in the third round while Roddick exited in the semis.
Apart from being able to see the world's elite players, fans will be able to cheer on local players such as world No 33 Li Na, who made it to the quarterfinals at the Olympics last month; and Australian and Wimbledon Open double's title winner Zheng Jie.
The best result by a local woman in the tournament is a semifinal finish by Peng Shuai in 2006.
The past four Opens have attracted top players, including Marat Safin, Nikolay Davydenko and Lindsay Davenport.
(China Daily September 19, 2008)