Maria Sharapova to play in Hong Kong
Maria Sharapova are among the clutch of top notchers who will feature at the JB Group Classic tennis tournament here Jan 7-10, 2009, it was announced here on Thursday.
The tournament will feature four teams representing the Asia-Pacific, Russia, Europe and the Americas. Each team will consist of three players who will compete in singles and doubles and will be led by a global star player, the JB Group and the
Hong Kong Tennis Patron's Association (TPA) said. Mirza will compete for Asia-Pacific while the recently crowned Jankovic will head up Team Europe and play in Hong Kong for the first time. Returning to Hong Kong to lead the Americas is 2008 Wimbledon singles and doubles champion and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, while 2008 Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova will spearhead Russia. The four teams will be placed into a semi final draw with each tie consisting of singles and doubles matches. The teams with the most overall wins will proceed to the JB Gold Group final and the losers to the JB Silver Group final.
The tournament follows in the tradition of other established international team events such as the Hopman Cup and the ATP World Team Cup. The JB Group also announced it would continue its title sponsorship for a further two years through 2010. "We look forward to another high quality tournament. It will provide tennis fans with a very exciting team dynamic, especially after the overwhelming success of the Olympics which is essentially a team event," Jatin Chutke, president, JB Group corporate management, said in a statement.
"JB Group is proud to be supporting this community event and we are happy we can contribute to the growth and success of the tournament," group head Bhupen Surani said. According to Ian Wade, president of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association, "we are delighted to be inviting tennis stars who represent every corner of the World and are thrilled that World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic is spearheading Team Europe. "Team Asia-Pacific will be represented by Indian superstar Sania Mirza, a very popular player in Hong Kong, which has a huge Indian fan base. Sania's colourful personality and powerful game makes her one of the most entertaining players on the Tour," Wade said.