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October 3, 2017

Alfred Zhang Junhui

Michael Chang

Dianne Hayes

Thomas Ross

Beijing, China

THE MODERATOR: Good morning. Thank you very much indeed for attending this press conference. We have the press conference with the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the organizing committee. We're happy that we have the guests here.

The first one is the senior vice president of global business of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Dianne Hayes.

We also have someone you're very familiar with, Alfred Zhang Junhui, China Open tournament director.

On the left, Mr. Thomas Ross, China Open co-tournament director.

In the middle, I don't need to introduce to you Michael Chang, also the 2018 global ambassador of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Dianne, the floor is yours.

DIANNE HAYES: Thank you. It's a great honor to be here on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame today. I thank Tom Ross and Alfred Zhang and the China Open staff for providing this wonderful opportunity for the Hall of Fame. Thank you very much.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame was established in Newport, Rhode Island, in the United States, in 1954. Since its origins more than 50 years ago, the Tennis Hall of Fame has been committed to preserving the remarkable stories of tennis' history with the intent to inspire future generations of tennis fans and players throughout the world.

Over the years the Hall of Fame's property and world class museum have been meticulously preserved and restored, and the organization has evolved steadily in its work to preserve, promote and celebrate the sport's great history in partnership with the tennis community throughout the globe.

The first class of Hall of Famers was inducted in 1955. In 1976, the Hall of Fame expanded its reach and began honoring international tennis players and leaders in addition to Americans.

The Hall of Fame celebrates those who have received tennis' ultimate honor: the 252 individuals from 23 nations who have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

I am honored to welcome Hall of Famer Michael Chang, someone I have known and worked very closely with since the early 1990s. As you know, he was the 1989 French Open champion at the age of 17, and reached a career-high world No. 2 singles ranking, was the winner of 34 career singles titles, and a Davis Cup champion. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008 in recognition of his tremendous tennis career and personal character.

We are here today to announce that Michael has agreed to serve as a global ambassador for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He joins global ambassadors Martina Hingis and Gustavo Kuerten in this very important role. In this role, Michael will be working with the Hall of Fame to continue to bring the organization's mission and message out to the tennis fans across the globe.

We will do this through public appearances at tennis events throughout the world, through social media, activation and digital programs, and in traditional marketing.

In 2018, Michael will be featured in the Hall of Fame's advertising and social campaigns which will focus on the promotion of history of tennis and Michael's inspiring life and tennis career.

Michael has always exuded a great passion for our sport. He's continued to stay actively involved in tennis as a coach, spokesperson, and through his important philanthropic work with the Chang Family Foundation and other charitable initiatives.

Michael, thank you for taking on this role. We very much look forward to working with you.

If you could draw your attention to the monitor.

(Video Shown.)

THE MODERATOR: Our new global ambassador for the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Michael Chang. The floor is yours.

MICHAEL CHANG: First off, it's an honor to be here. I'm obviously incredibly honored to be a part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Inducted in 2008, it was an incredible experience to be a part of, not only for myself but for my team and all the people that were supporting me to help me to achieve a lot of different things through the sport.

Now I have this incredible new role as a global ambassador to help promote the International Tennis Hall of Fame and be able to take its purpose and its mission, to be able to share that with many fans around the world.

As you know obviously, tennis is a very global sport. I feel like it's very fitting that we have this announcement actually here in Beijing. I can recall playing here in Beijing in a much smaller venue. To see how tennis has grown tremendously over these years in and throughout China has been sensational.

Now you're seeing obviously some of the biggest tournaments in the world being played here in China, and obviously a lot of smaller tournaments, challengers, futures, opportunities for young Chinese players to not only play on the ATP Tour or on the WTA Tour, but to be able to go out and be some of the best in the world.

I think it's very fitting to have this announcement here. It's obviously a great honor to be able to partner with the International Tennis Hall of Fame for this purpose and help to get the word out about its mission.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

Why don't we open the floor for questions for Michael and the other VIPs, as well.

Q. Dianne, why does the International Tennis Hall of Fame choose to announce this special news at this year's China Open? And how do you think China has developed tennis in the past few years?
DIANNE HAYES: We were presented this wonderful opportunity through Tom Ross. Knowing that Michael was going to be here, we just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. I had the opportunity to work with Michael for many years in my prior career at Reebok in China. The most populous nation in the world, an emerging tennis program, we just thought it was very fitting for this announcement.

The second question, just in terms of this is a very, very important market for us. The expansion, we've focused on the Asia/Pacific region. We can't market and promote in every country, but we have targeted China specifically as a priority market for the Hall of Fame moving forward.

We did an event here last year and a clinic with Martina Hingis, one of our previous global ambassadors. We look forward to focusing a fair amount of Michael's time in this market because we just see a lot of potential here.

Q. Mr. Ross, you are the co-tournament director for the China Open. In the past we know you have worked as a player agent for a long time, also for Michael. What is the difference between these two jobs? Another question is, did you suggest Michael to come to China this time?
MICHAEL CHANG: I want to hear this answer (laughter).

THOMAS ROSS: I can assure you it was less stressful representing Michael for a long time than it was this week here as the co-tournament director (smiling).

As you know, this is my first year as the co-tournament director here. I'm enjoying it immensely. It's a fantastic challenge, a great event.

But I have had over the past 25 years the privilege and pleasure of representing and managing Michael's career. It came as no surprise to me in 2008 that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It comes as no surprise to me now that Todd Martin and Dianne Hayes at the Hall of Fame decided he would be the absolutely ideal spokesman to serve in this capacity.

I am just thrilled that the stars were aligned this week. As you know, Michael coaches Kei Nishikori. Kei normally would be playing somewhere else this week. He's out for the rest of the season. Michael was free. We worked to put this opportunity together. I couldn't be happier.

Q. Mr. Zhang, do you have any other intentions to cooperate with the International Tennis Hall of Fame, any ear prospects of cooperation?
ALFRED ZHANG JUNHUI: (Through translation) This is the second year of our cooperation with the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Last year Martina Hingis helped us promote the China Open. This year I'm really very happy that Michael Chang can come to the China Open and have some interaction with Chinese fans and Chinese youngsters.

Also the announcement of such significant news announced here in the China Open makes me very happy. This is a very important opportunity for the China Open to be global.

In the last two weeks, I've been discussing with Mr. Ross where should the China Open be headed. We should show it more to the Chinese people and youngsters. We need to do more promotional work, especially that we have the Chinese-American legend, Michael Chang, to take the lead.

We also hope that the top players in China and the Chinese fans, the Chinese young people, could become global and have some communication with the international players. This is the goal of the China Open.

THE MODERATOR: If there are no further questions, I will announce the end of today's press conference.

Michael, our distinguished guests, thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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