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November 13, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 press announcement. I would like to introduce our VIPs. Mr. Brad Drewett, CEO of ATP International, Tournament Director of Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai.
Ms. Sun Jinfang, Director of Tennis Sport Management Center of China, Administration of Sports, Managing Deputy Director of Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai Organizing Committee;.
Mr. Qiu Weichang, Deputy Director of Shanghai Administration of Sports and Deputy Director of Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai Organizing Committee.
Mr. Leon Sun, General Manager of Event Management Department, Shanghai Juss Event Management Corporation.
Mr. Michael Luevano, Executive Director of International Division, Shanghai Juss Management Corporation.
Mr. Arnaud Boetsch, representative of Rolex.
I'd like to ask Mr. Brad Drewett, CEO of ATP International, Tournament Director of Masters Cup Shanghai, to introduce the background information of the ATP Masters 1000 event.
BRAD DREWETT: Thank you, everyone, once again for being here today.
It's extremely exciting for me to be here with the formal announcement of the Shanghai 1000 event, which will be staged here at the Qi Zhong Stadium next year.
As I said earlier today, this has been a wonderful journey with the Tennis Masters Cup. But now it's a new step, a new step in the road for Shanghai to have what will be one of the eight major events on the ATP Tour.
The eight elite events will be held in different parts of the world, and Shanghai will be one of the cities which will stage one of these events with a 56 draw, a traditional format. These events will be the pinnacle of the season throughout the ATP Tour.
I congratulate Shanghai not only on staging a great Tennis Masters Cup for the last five years, but also further progressing now to staging and hosting one of the ATP's biggest regular-season events.
I'd now like to introduce the co-tournament directors for next year's event. Firstly, Mr. Leon Sun. Leon has been an integral part of the development of the Tennis Masters Cup over the last five years, working for Juss Events. He is someone who I've come to respect greatly for his tireless work in all areas of the tournament, and I'm sure will make a wonderful co-tournament director of next year's event.
I'd also like to introduce Mr. Michael Luevano, who has been involved with events here in Shanghai for over 10 years, working together with Juss Events. With his great knowledge and experience of the tennis industry, in particular running tennis events all over the world, he's brought that experience here to Shanghai over 10 years ago, and has also played an integral part in the growth and success of tennis here in Shanghai and China.
I'd like to now introduce Mr. Leon Sun and Mr. Michael Luevano, the co-tournament directors of the ATP 1000 next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Brad.
Mr. Boetsch, if you please.
ARNAUD BOETSCH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, friends, and members of the media, as a partner to the Shanghai Tennis Masters, we are very happy to welcome you today for this press conference.
Needless to say, we are extremely excited with our involvement with the Tennis Masters Cup. The stadium here in Shanghai provides a perfect showcase for the sport, the players, and the public alike. The quality of the events which gather the eight best players in the world for the year fits perfectly with our perpetual quest in watch-making category.
As you may be aware, the relationship between Rolex and tennis dates back to 1978, when Rolex became the official time-keeper at the Wimbledon Championships. This date marks the beginning of a privileged relationship between two partners, driven by the same proud tradition of excellence and a passionate commitment to constant innovation.
Today this partnership extends to other tournaments, including the Australian Open, the Davis Cup, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the China Open, and many others.
The spirit is also reflected in Rolex's ambassadors, such as Roger Federer, one of the greatest ever; Andy Roddick, Ana Ivanovic, Zheng Jie and Yan Zi, who are all at the top of the sport.
Today we are proud to announce our extended involvement in tennis, and in China, as Rolex will be become the presenting sponsor of the Shanghai Masters 1000 next year. This commitment marks and announcement of our partnership, and will go some way in helping the promotion of tennis in China.
We would like to thank all the various partners and friends who have helped us uphold the Rolex commitment to tennis in China. To start, thank you to the CTA and Ms. Sun Jinfang, to the organizing committee of the tournaments, Qiu Weichang; to the ATP, of course, Brad; and especially to Michael, Charles, and Leon Sun, of course, from Juss Events.
Last but not least, please note that we have been joined tonight by Mr. Daniel Neidhart, managing director of Rolex Hong Kong, who looks after commercial activities for greater China, who is also delighted by the partnership with the tournament and by the increased commitment of our company next year.
Ladies and gentlemen, many thanks for your kind attention. We wish you a very good tournament, and look forward to welcoming the Shanghai Masters Presented by Rolex next year.
THE MODERATOR: We invite Mr. Boetsch to present the gift to Ms. Sun Jinfang.
Now I'd like to welcome Mr. Leon and Mr. Michael Luevano to accept gifts from the ATP.
We'd like to ask the two co-tournament directors of the ATP 1000 Masters to say a few words.
MR. LEON SUN: (Through translation.) First of all, I'm very excited to make this speech and to be here. I would like to give my thanks to Madam Sun Jinfang, Mr. Brad Drewett, and also to our sponsor, Rolex. Really, from the ATP Tennis Masters Cup to ATP 1000, really it's exciting. I'm also so happy to be appointed by the ATP and my company to be one of the co-tournament directors for the ATP 1000 starting from next year.
After 10 years, the tennis here has grown quite a bit. We've gone through a lot with my partner Michael. I have reason to believe that 10 years down the line, with the help and assistance or support from the Chinese Sports Administration and Shanghai Sports Administration, and also the ATP.
The cooperation will continue, and I have reason to believe that afterwards the ATP 1000, after the huge success of the Tennis Masters Cup, will continue to be successful down the line.
Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Michael.
MR. MICHAEL LUEVANO: Ms. Sun, Mr. Qiu, Mr. Boetsch, Brad, Mr. Neidhart, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
It's my honor to be named, together with my colleague, Leon, as co-tournament director for the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, to be presented by, of course, our very good friends at Rolex, which I can vouch for you, they're very good friends.
Leon and I met 11 years ago about one hour after I arrived into Shanghai. We've become very fast friends, but most importantly we have become a very effective working team over the last 10 years. We've taken the ATP, a very small International Series event, and in 10 years' time we've run five editions of the Tennis Masters Cup, and done it all in less than 10 years.
Our goal for the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 is an ambitious one. It is to become the Masters 1000 masterpiece. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife and family, my business partner of 21 long, grueling years, Mr. Charles Humphrey Smith, the Jiu Shi Group, and of course the ATP for all their years of unconditional support.
Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: I also would like to call up Mr. Qiu Weichang to say a few words, as well.
MR. QIU WEICHANG: (Through translation.) Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests. Even though the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai is still heating up, more excitement has been drawing a lot of tennis fans to come to enjoy games before the completion of the Tennis Masters Cup.
Today we have already started our preparation for the ATP 1000 in Shanghai. This also showcases our determination to make this event next year to be one of the top events around the world.
Since the Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup entered Shanghai in the year of 2002, the fans in Shanghai have already started to love this sport with passion. Five years of the Tennis Masters Cup really have given people a deep impression.
Also it pushed Shanghai, including nationwide perhaps, the tennis movement to go on and on vigorously. Therefore, Shanghai, even after the Tennis Masters Cup, really has reason to need a high-level event to settle down permanently or on a long-term basis to fulfill the needs of tennis fans, and to also continue the tennis, this stylish, trendy, and healthy sport, to grow in Shanghai.
Therefore, the success of Tennis Masters Cup really has made a solid foundation for the ATP 1000 in Shanghai next year.
Therefore, on behalf of the Shanghai Sports Administration, I would like to give my thanks to the ATP, to all parties concerned, including also the tennis management center of the Chinese Sports Administration, and Madam Sun Jinfang, because of your imperative support, we in Shanghai have this chance to successfully get this chance, the right to host the ATP 1000, becoming the only city in Asia to host this event.
We're very happy to see this cooperation coming true between Rolex and Juss Events. We hope this cooperation will be a win-win situation. I certainly hope that more and more potential sponsors will take this opportunity to join us to sponsor this event, the ATP 1000 Shanghai.
Therefore, I have reason to believe when we close the curtain to the 2008 Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup, and I think I have reason to believe that because of the help that we get from the ATP and also help that we get from the tennis management center of the Chinese Sports Administration, and also thanks to you media friends, the 2009 ATP 1000 Shanghai will be a success, as well.
Thank you very much, indeed.
THE MODERATOR: Now the floor is open for Q&A.
Q. People say, "repair the house before it rains." Correct me if I'm wrong, the ATP Masters in Hamburg, which has been held for over a century, has been downgraded, a situation we obviously don't want to see in Shanghai. My question is, what is wrong with Hamburg, and what do you think Shanghai needs to do to avoid the same fate?
BRAD DREWETT: Look, I'm not going to comment specifically on Hamburg. What I will say is that over the last two years the ATP board has gone through a very rigorous analysis of everything to do with the ATP format: the calendar, the player commitment.
They believe, and we believe, the ATP, that the structure we have put in place next year with eight Masters 1000 events, is the best structure to take this sport forward into the next stage of growth.
All the feedback we've received from fans, from sponsors, from television, indicates that we are on the right path. I'm very confident that Shanghai, being a part of this elite eight events, is going to go from strength to strength.
I said earlier today that this is an event which Shanghai has earned. It's earned it through 10 years of hard work, hard commitment, using all the resources available to the government and to Juss Events. I expect this event to continue the growth path for as long as we can possibly imagine, through the Masters 1000 event.
I have every confidence this event will be incredibly strong, not only next year but for the foreseeable long-term future.
Q. Could I ask the gentleman from Rolex, it's no surprise, everybody knows we're heading into a very uncertain financial time on a global scale, yet you're investing in a new sponsorship, a new sporting event. Can you tell us whether your sponsorship will change in the global downturn, and what is it about investing in something like the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 that you hope to get out of it?
ARNAUD BOETSCH: I won't comment on the financial crisis, because of course it's not my business really.
But what I can tell you is we love for the past year, for the past 12 months, working with Charles, Michael, and Leon. The organization was just perfect for us. And the way they worked, it showed that they have the Rolex standards.
So it means for us that it was the right place to be at the right moment. We decided that a few months ago. It was before the crisis. We won't change our mind because the crisis is there. We will continue to invest and we will continue to grow, even though it's maybe a bit more difficult, but it's difficult for everybody.
But we're here. We're very proud to be here. I'm sure, as we all say, this tournament will be a great tournament, and Rolex has to be here. So it's a good decision.
Q. Can you talk a bit more about what it is about Shanghai and not an event somewhere else?
ARNAUD BOETSCH: Well, we are in Beijing, as well. China, it's an important country. Rolex has to be here. Mr. Daniel Neidhart can talk about that. We are here. We found some very good partners.
Because of that, we decide to continue, we decide to be present. We found that Charles and Michael are just the great persons for Rolex to improve their image in this country.
Q. Mr. Drewett, Andy Roddick was saying yesterday that he didn't like the new format and he thought it would be too difficult for players, placing too many demands on them. I wonder how you would respond to that.
THE MODERATOR: This question is not related totally to the press conference today. So if we can, just move on.
BRAD DREWETT: Just quickly, as long as we don't linger on it.
Look, when you go through a process like we have the last two years in evaluating, you know, various options for a new format, a new structure, it was always going to be a very diverse opinion.
I mean, there's many different stakeholders in tennis, like there is in any organization: the players, the tournaments, all the various commercial partners. And we've taken into account all those views. Of course, people are going to express their views. We respect, and I certainly respect Andy's view. He's a very intelligent, good-thinking young man, and his opinions are valued.
But in the end the board decided, having taken into account everyone's perspectives, not just one or two people, that this was the best way forward. So, yes, I wasn't here yesterday, but I have spoken to Andy about this. I respect his opinion.
However, the ATP has taken into account all the various stakeholders in the sport and believing the strategy for next year and forward is the right one.
Q. Michael, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, you had no idea what China looked like. Now you have been living in this city for 10 years, grew up with this event. Can you share with us more about your thoughts and emotions as the co-tournament director? What kind of different opportunities and challenges were you faced with compared with 10 years ago working as the tournament director of the Heineken Open.
MICHAEL LUEVANO: That's a lot of question.
Ten years ago when my partner and I received word that we were coming to Shanghai, we were a little skeptical. We had actually been staging events in China since 1995, so we were not a stranger to the marketplace. But when we found out that the actual owner of the event was a bus company, we had a little reservation about that.
When we did arrive, as I said in my address, I met Leon literally at the hotel when I walked in the door. My first impression was, This is a pretty sharp, bright, energetic young man that is perfect for the task that we need to achieve. The type of people that we needed to create something really from nothing.
The challenges that we will face obviously are not unsimilar to most major events, Masters Series, around the world. We want to increase attendance. We want to have our spectator experience be second to none. We want to give above-and-beyond value to our commercial partners, such as Rolex, who I think is quite frankly a legendary sponsor in tennis, and we're very fortunate to have them involved with the event. I think it immediately raises our stature in the world of tennis by having them, the brand, associated with us.
So we do have our work cut out for us. Leon and I, our organizational structure is a hybrid, if you will. We have the international expertise combined with the ingenuity, the passion to do better and be the best from our local partners and our local owners, the Jiu Shi Group.
THE MODERATOR: Due to time constraints, we have to wrap up our press conference this afternoon. Thank you very much.
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