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October 2, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning and welcome to the morning session of the China Open. I'd like to introduce you to all the professionals and guests with us today.
Please welcome tournament director of the China Open, Mr. Charles Hsiung. The president of international affairs of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Ms. Dianne Hayes. The first Global Tennis Ambassador of the Hall of Fame, Martina Hingis. Now the vice chairman of the National Sports Bureau, China Tennis Association, Qing Shanglin.
Mr. Charles Hsiung will now speak.
CHARLES HSIUNG: We just had a great time on the other court. It is so nice to see a lot of tennis fans and young children having an interactive session with Martina in the efforts of the Tennis Hall of Fame. Thanks to Dianne to really preserve the culture in tennis and sport.
I would really want to say welcome to all of my guests here. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We will invite Ms. Dianne Hayes to speak to details from the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
DIANNE HAYES: It's a pleasure to be here on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame with Martina today. I want to thank everyone for welcoming us here and giving us this wonderful opportunity to give you some information about the Hall of Fame.
Our outreach efforts are global now. Many people are not familiar with the International Tennis Hall of Fame. We look forward to working with all of you, all the press and the tournament, long-term to find some permanent opportunities here to promote and engage the history of our sport and celebrate our great champions like Martina.
Like Charles said, we had a wonderful clinic. There's some really talented junior players here in China. Clearly the future is very bright.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is an organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, promoting that history to fans worldwide, and celebrating the sport's greatest champions. We do this through several means.
We operate a beautiful and extensive museum in Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States. Newport is about 90 minutes south of Boston, Massachusetts. We have a seven-acre campus there with multiple buildings and about 40 staff members who work full-time on behalf of the Hall of Fame.
The museum chronicles the history of tennis through its origins to present day. In the museum there are exciting exhibits featuring artifacts of tennis history from the sport's greatest champions and moments, interesting exhibits featuring tennis art and fashion, and interactive experiences to help engage visitors of all ages in the sport's history.
One of our unique exhibits is a hologram of Roger Federer talking about why he loves our sport. You can imagine it's a very popular exhibit.
In addition to the museum in Newport, we design traveling exhibits about specific themes in tennis history and bring them to tennis events and fans throughout the world. We plan to do this in China in conjunction with the China Open next year.
In 2016 we had several traveling exhibits, one at the Madrid Open, celebrating the history of Spanish tennis, and saluting our five International Tennis Hall of Famers. We had an exhibit at the Rio Olympics, celebrating the history of Olympic tennis. Finally we will be launching one at the Kremlin Cup, saluting the history of Russian tennis and celebrating our most recent Hall of Famer from the 2016 class, Marat Safin.
Finally we are committed to celebrating the sport's greatest champions. We do this by presenting a select group of individuals each year with the highest honor in the sport of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame recognizes the sum of a person's achievements. Our Hall of Famers are people who have won the biggest tournaments, achieved the highest rankings, and contributed to the growth of tennis in the most influential ways.
The Hall of Famers come from 23 nations around the world. Since the Hall of Fame was founded in 1954, only 247 people have received this honor. Presently there are not any Chinese inductees, but we certainly anticipate that will change in the future. Hall of Famers are inducted five years after they retire from the sport.
Today's programs were the first of more we intend to do here in China. We know that Chinese players and fans are very interested in growing tennis and have a great appreciation for history and we look forward to working with you all to preserve and promote the history of our sport in the future.
It's a pleasure for me to introduce a very special guest today, Martina Hingis. She's already a legend in the sport, and she continues to build upon her incredible record as a doubles star today.
In recognition of her prior success in tennis, 15 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed, and a world No. 1 ranking, Martina was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013. She then made an extraordinary comeback and went on to win seven more Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed, and is still competing at the highest level of the game today.
In addition to being an inductee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, she also holds a very important role as our first global ambassador and spokesperson around the world. It's such a pleasure to work with her. We are so appreciative of her time with us today.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
We will now watch a wonderful video of Martina Hingis.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to invite Martina Hingis to say a few words about her achievements.
MARTINA HINGIS: Thank you, Dianne, for the nice words. I'm very proud to have been chosen International Tennis Hall of Fame ambassador because when it happened, I was already being an inductee of the class of 2013. I said this is always going to be one of my favorite and best moments throughout my career because it's not only one victory, only one match, playing the Williams sisters, Davenport, Seles, Capriati throughout my career, it's the entire career.
In that day, I'll just always remember I was happy to be able to share it with my mom. That three days making it combined all happen. When I watch this video, it reminds me of that day when I was so nervous about making my speech. I hoped I'm not going to say something wrong.
Tennis history, it's always been important. My mom always gave it to me on my way to learn about Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, who invented the WTA Tour, she started the tour, all of that history.
When you go to that place, it's just so amazing. It's magical to see all that, the men and women together, the history of the game, to celebrate it, be able to be part of it. It's a great honor to me.
I think now also bringing it internationally is great. You think of the Hall of Fame as very American. Last year we also did a ceremony in Singapore. I think it's not only the history, but it's also the future.
Tennis has definitely come to China. You can see the improvement over the past 10, 15 years, how many academies, players, how many more will come out of this country. The kids today, you see how much better they are. The infrastructure of the country, so many opportunities, possibilities.
I played in Guangzhou, I played in Wuhan last week, now Beijing, then Tianjin. The opportunity this country opens up is for the kids. I always say, I wish we had one of these stadiums in Switzerland. But here they're like mushrooms popping up everywhere. Hopefully this will help, having the right infrastructure, the coaches, the possibilities will happen to have many more like Li Na and Shuai Peng, many more players like that in the future.
I'm honored to have this pleasure and opportunity to play with the kids today. Hopefully many more opportunities open up in the future. I'm happy to still be participating at this tournament. Looking forward to your support, as well, for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
You have to go and check it out. Definitely if you're in America, it's a great place to visit and a great place to be.
THE MODERATOR: We wish you good luck in China.
MARTINA HINGIS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Last of all, I'd like to invite Mr. Qing to say a few words.
QING SHANGLIN: (Through translation.) Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I'm very honored to say a few words about this event at this great press conference.
We have invited three speakers to share with you their experience. Hingis is engaged in activities with our kids. Today we are cooperating with the China Open to facilitate the growth of tennis in China. As one of the managers in the association of Chinese tennis, I'm happy to see your passion, enthusiasm for our infrastructure and history.
As to the Hall of Fame, I don't think you are quite familiar with this organization. But I'm fully convinced as we are making more efforts, this organization will be widely accepted by the Chinese fans and professionals.
Ms. Hingis is a representative of the tennis professionals. If you are her fan, you must love her. She's cool, beautiful, brave. When she's playing singles, I do admire her form, her forehand and backhand. As for today, I'm still an amateur. I could never beat her. However, I do appreciate my efforts in training and practice.
I do appreciate their presence. Without their presence, without the cooperation between the Hall of Fame and China Open, we could never make it happen.
They are exerting good influence to the young kids, to the people with potential. Through such events, we are going to expand the influence. It is our responsibility. Last but not least, I hope we can enjoy the happiness brought by tennis and the players, and we are going to bring tennis to each of the households in China.
THE MODERATOR: Now it's time for the Q&A session.
Q. Why did the Hall of Fame choose the China Open to have this opportunity?
DIANNE HAYES: It's a marketplace where tennis is very important, and we know how important history is to the Chinese people. We see great opportunities here. I met with Charles earlier in the year, really just felt that was a very meaningful opportunity for the Hall of Fame moving forward.
We fully plan to have more permanence here moving forward. We will be having traveling exhibits to celebrate the history of Chinese tennis.
Our hope is that Li Na will become the first Chinese Hall of Famer in a few years. We are building around those efforts to celebrate her in advance of her induction, hopefully, into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
We value the investment the country is making in tennis, particularly women's tennis. It's a wonderful association working with the China Open and the Chinese Tennis Association moving forward. I think our values and missions are very similar with regards to promoting the history of the game and celebrating its champions.
Q. Why did you decide to cooperate the International Tennis Hall of Fame into the China Open?
CHARLES HSIUNG: The China Open has a very proud history, since 2004. I was with the China Open since 2004. We operate this event thanks to the support that was extended to us from the Chinese Tennis Association, from the Beijing municipal government, from the Beijing Sports Bureau.
This event has grown bigger and better, and we have experienced a lot of success together with the support of our players, such as Martina.
Throughout this history, I think we can see that it's been 13 years, and the next generation that normally takes over, we don't know. There's the next after next, and suddenly the whole truth about tennis and about its culture has been buried under conversations that we do not know how did we ever start, where are we, what challenges did we face, and how did we grow to where we are today.
If I ask you, where are we in 2004. I tell you, we are in a very small stadium very far from here. We don't have a Hawk-Eye system. We don't have what we have today.
The China Open has evolved. As such, if you take this back out and talk about the whole International Tennis Hall of Fame, you're talking about players from around the world dating back to the 1980s. You forgot the names of Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova.
So it is our time to preserve the history and culture because this is sort of a heritage we need to pass on to the next generation. I really love the idea when Dianne surfaced to become a friend a year ago, and we met up and said, This is something we should do, we should promote in this region, to continue preserving our history and culture and continue the growth of sports in the region.
I hope that helps. Thank you.
Q. Would the Hall of Fame take the museum to China or establish a new museum here in China so the Chinese people can have a better understanding of the history of tennis?
MARTINA HINGIS: I think this question is better to Dianne.
DIANNE HAYES: I think I missed a little bit of the question, but you're asking about the permanent exhibit moving forward and the celebration of tennis.
We haven't really figured out exactly what the theme will be moving forward. It will be a celebration of the champions and the Hall of Famers. It's important that we not only work with our Hall of Famers but we work with the current and former players in these countries to really celebrate their accomplishments and the history in particular markets.
That's an important focus for us moving forward, to have really local celebrations, to celebrate our Hall of Famers in their local markets but to also promote them around the world and bring our global ambassadors.
Martina works alongside Gustavo Kuerten as our second international ambassador. Our plan is to expand that program moving forward. There's really nothing better for the Hall of Fame to have great spokespeople like Martina out on the road speaking on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Q. Martina, we all know you have a lot of Grand Slams. At an age that many players choose to retire, you have become one of the International Tennis Hall of Fame ambassadors. What is your aspiration to continue your career? What is your destination in the future?
MARTINA HINGIS: First, was to retire for five years, make it into the Hall of Fame, then start playing tennis again (laughter). I think I'm the first one and probably the last one, unless Li Na comes back again after giving birth.
No, I think it's just really the love of the game that keeps me going. I think when you're still able to win Grand Slams, I love the challenge. We had a lot of success over the last two years with Sania and also with Flavia Pennetta, with Coco playing here.
I'm looking forward to the next season already playing here. As long as my body keeps me going, my motivation is there. I just really take it one step at a time. Future plans about family and all of that, that will come when the time is right.
Q. Last year, I met you. I don't know if you remember.
MARTINA HINGIS: I do remember (laughter).
Q. Last year I remember during the Tianjin Open, you spent a lot of time with young tennis players. This year you still spend time with Chinese young players. Why do you want to do that?
MARTINA HINGIS: Because I really enjoy the youth. I think this is our future. I really enjoy the coaching part. I've done that for a couple years. I also did a clinic last week in Wuhan. Every time I go on court, this is my passion, what I love to do.
You see the little improvement. Even today when I played with the kids, you can give back a little bit, and actually they get better. Like the serve, the girl got a couple great serves in at the end. It's a satisfaction to me, too. It's seeing the happy face on the kids, seeing the smile, the success. It's like little success stories when you learn and teach somebody what was given to me. I'm still able to do it.
When you understand the game, it comes back to you, it's a great feeling. I really enjoy that. I hope they do, too.
Q. Do you think it influences the youth in China's tennis future?
MARTINA HINGIS: Who knows. We can always talk about it, think about it. I wouldn't say no to that. I really enjoy being here. I think this is a part that could always open up. I think there is a lot of great coaches already. Ellen. I believe you have Rodriguez here, as well, from the outside to learn the game of tennis. Yeah, so, never say no to nothing.
THE MODERATOR: We need to stop at this time. Thank you very much for coming.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports