Sharapova, Serena Williams to play in China Open
Tue 27 July, 2004 10:54
BEIJING, July 27 (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova and beaten finalist Serena Williams will play at the first China Open in Beijing this September, organisers said on Tuesday.
Russian Sharapova and six-times grand slam champion Williams join a list of top male players at the event, including 2000 U.S. Open champion Marat Safin, former world number one Carlos Moya and number one Asian player Paradorn Srichaphan.
China Open director Lincoln Venancio said the aim was to develop the event into one of the world's top five tennis tournaments.
It will be held on 15 hard courts at the capital city's new tennis centre.
State television giant CCTV plans to broadcast it to as many as 700 million people and it is expected to reach the largest domestic audience for any tennis event.
Up to 600,000 people were expected to attend the September 10-26 tournament, which includes men's, women's, juniors' and seniors' brackets, organisers said.
A sixteen day tournament for both sexes, with Juniors, seniors etc? A "top five" event. Sure looks like the intention is to make it a slam.....
If they are looking to get 700 million watchers, have both men, women and juniors, then this event will definitly eclipse the likes of IW and miami, the other slams have the history and prestige so are not likely to be outdone. I think its a good idea to move tennis into newer areas, i hope alot of top players decide to show up