Zhuhai's reputation ready for takeoff
Steffi Graf, a German tennis icon, will be the global ambassador for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai this year. photos provided to China Daily
The upcoming Women’s Tennis Association Elite Trophy and the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition have together brought Zhuhai in South China’s Guangdong province the world’s attention.
Former world No. 1, multiple Grand Slam winner and this year’s global ambassador for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai Steffi Graf will attend the event, which will run from Nov. 1 to 6. Singles players ranked from nine to 19, together with Zhang Shuai, a Chinese player who has recently been granted a wild card entry, will compete in the tournament.
According to the current WTA rankings, the American tennis player Venus Williams, who ranks 13th, is likely to be in Zhuhai.
Carla Navarro (No. 9) from Spain, Stetlana Kuznetsova (No. 10) from Russia, Johanna Konta (No. 11) from the United Kingdom, Petra Kvitova (No. 12) from the Czech Republic, Roberta Vinci (No. 14) from ltaly, Timea Bacsinszky (No. 15) from Switzerland and many other top players are also expected to come.
“I am so pleased to be the ambassador for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai,” Graf said.
“Such a prestigious event in the beautiful city of Zhuhai will go a long way towards supporting the expansion of women’s tennis.
“I have had great reports from the players and through the press about last year’s event, and I cannot wait to visit and be a part of the tournament this year.”
The chief executive of the WTA Steve Simon cannot wait, either.
“It is exciting to see Steffi as the official ambassador of the Elite Trophy,” Simon said.
“She is one of our greatest and most respected players, with many players viewing her as their role model. Getting her endorsement is another solid testament to Zhuhai’s prestigious status.”
Tournament director Peter Johnston predicted Graf’s involvement would provide a big boost for the event’s international profile.
“As the Elite Trophy continues to grow and its global profile increases, it is another important milestone to have the endorsement of such a great champion,” Johnston said.
“We look forward to working with Steffi in advance promotions and welcoming her during the event week.”
It will be the second year that Zhuhai has hosted the WTA Elite Trophy, and this year’s prize money for the tournament will be $2.21 million.
Venus Williams from the United States won last year’s event.
Crowds take in the spectacle at the Airshow China.
Zhuhai, which boasts scenic coastal views and an eco-friendly industrial system, has been designated the most livable city in China by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences three times in the past couple of years.
Last year, many in the tennis world were astonished as all WTA-related infrastructure construction and preparation were finished within a year. This year, the organizers have kicked promotion of the event into high gear, and a series of warm-up activities have already started.
Adding to the carnival atmosphere, the Savour Food Festival will be held in the 1,593-square-feet, 5,000-seat Hengqin International Tennis Center. It will be the festival’s first time serving during the tournament, and will feature chefs from Michelin Star restaurants around the world.
The WTA game shares its start date with another big event in Zhuhai: the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, commonly called the Airshow China.
More than 130 aircraft from 42 countries and regions will participate in the six-day air show, and 52 American companies, including Boeing, Bell Helicopter Textron and Honeywell International, will be in attendance.
To meet the spatial demands of the growing Airshow China, Zhuhai has completely reconstructed its existing aerospace center. The new exhibition center contains seven exhibition halls, occupying 71,041 square feet with a height of 49 feet.
International and professional information is the key to the air show’s competitiveness, and with support from companies at home and abroad, Airshow China has gained more and more worldwide influence.
The air show’s organizers in Zhuhai have invited 100 foreign military delegations, including defense ministers, air force commanders and army commanders from Europe, the US, Asia and Africa.
M. J. Higgins, the team leader of the Red Arrows from Britain, said he is looking forward to the Airshow China in early November.
The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, is a world famous aerobatics display team of the Royal Air Force of the U.K. and was formed in late 1964.
It is the first time that the Red Arrows will take part in the Chinese air show, at which the team is going to present a 26-minute show with 12 BAe Systems Hawk trainer aircraft.
“Under the cooperat ion and safeguards prepared by the Zhuhai air traffic control administration, I believe we can present a world-class air show to our Chinese spectators,” Higgins said.
As China is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of its aerospace projects, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. is bringing 422 products to the air show this year, displaying its achievements in the aerospace industry and technological implements in the national economy.
Chinese companies such as China North Industries Group, China South Industries Group, China Electronics Technology Group and China Electronics Corp., will display their latest electronic information products, including air-defense and missiledefense systems, radar systems, communication equipment, electronic countermeasures, main battle tanks and infantry combat vehicles.