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DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS WOMEN


February 20, 2012


Stacey Allaster

Ana Ivanovic

Colm McLoughlin

Salah Tahlak

Caroline Wozniacki


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

ANNABEL CROFT:  Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and thank you all for coming.  Welcome to today's press conference.
I would like to introduce to you our participants today:  Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman of Dubai Duty Free; Stacey Allaster, chairman and CEO of the WTA, Salah Tahlak, the tournament director; Caroline Wozniacki, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships defending champion; and Ana Ivanovic, the former world No. 1 and Roland Garros champion.  Welcome to all of you here today.
Dubai Duty Free is the single largest airport retailer in the world, and has been a long‑standing partner of the WTA since 2004.¬† The reason we've gathered here today is to announce the extension of Dubai Duty Free's partnership with the WTA and a few new programs as part of that extension.
The Dubai Duty Free WTA partnership has been incredibly successful and groundbreaking over the years.  I'm now going to pass it across to our participants to tell you a little bit more about it.  Thank you.
Colm, over top you.
COLM McLOUGHLIN:  Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.  I'm very happy to be here, and very happy all of you are here.  I was about to say that Dubai Duty Free is a single largest duty free operator in the world, but thank you Annabel for having said that.
We joined with the WTA as a global sponsor I think is the correct word in 2004; we have been with them ever since.  We have enjoyed the association very much.
Recently, we renewed our sponsorship with the WTA.  It is global, it is multiple million dollar, it is exciting, and we've signed for three further years.  I welcome Stacey and the lady players with us today, and of course women all of you.
There are new things in the sponsorship we have now with the WTA.¬† We will be the presenting sponsor for the end‑of‑season awards in Istanbul I think it is.¬† We will be the inviting host, if you like, for the players' party before Wimbledon, and we will be represented by two ambassadors assigned by the WTA to us.
So Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships now have two lady ambassadors who will talk on our behalf, be involved in promo movies and things like that during the coming year.
The two ambassadors we have here, are of course, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic.  Thank you, ladies.
(Applause.)
I'm told by Sinead that these two ladies will visit some of the events that Dubai Duty Free are involved in somewhere else around the world.  Perhaps our horse racing in Newbury, perhaps our hose racing in Ascot, or perhaps even the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
You're welcome everybody.  Thank you.  You're going to be busy girls.  (Smiling.)  (Applause).
ANNABEL CROFT:  Over to you, Stacey.
STACEY ALLASTER:¬† Good afternoon.¬† I was here two years ago, and it's wonderful to be back.¬† On that occasion two years ago, on court celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, my friend here to the left said to all of us:¬† We have been a long‑standing partner of the WTA for ten years.¬† Stacey, we look forward to continuing to support women's tennis for the next ten years, not only here in the region, but worldwide.
So those of you who work with Colm on a daily basis, you know two things about him:  he is a man of action and a man of his world.  So today's announcement definitely confirms what you said to me two years ago on court.  That Dubai Duty Free is fully committed to keeping women's tennis the No. 1 sport in the world.
We thank you for this ongoing commitment, this new level of support, and I couldn't be more thrilled have to you continuing as our global sponsor.
COLM McLOUGHLIN:  Thank you.  Thank you.
STACEY ALLASTER:  This tournament is a cornerstone for you us.  Not only great staging, but their commitment to equal prize money, which is obviously very important to the WTA.  S we thank you for that as well.
This man also has a fantastic team of action, and I would like to take this occasion to thank Salah, to thank Sinead, to thank Bharat, to thank George.¬† I know it is a year‑round effort to have us here and to keep us at the highest level, and we are very indebted to that.
As well, we would like to express our gratitude to His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.  We appreciate his vision and his support for women's tennis in Dubai and in the region.
And last but not least, the ladies of action.  Two of the finest players and ambassadors for our sport.  Really, I don't think you could have picked two better ambassadors to kickoff this new element of our partnership.
Why do I think they are two of the finest?  Their talent on the court, their professionalism on the court and off the court, they're smart, they're great personalities, and very much what Dubai Duty Free is about.  They deeply care about their customers, our fans, and for you, your customers coming through.
So it's a great match.  I know they're going to do is fantastic job representing you.
COLM McLOUGHLIN:  Thank you.
ANNABEL CROFT:  Thank you very much, Stacey.  Thank you.  (Applause).
Now let's here from the tournament director.
SALAH TAHLAK:  Thanks everyone.  Thank to Stacey.  Welcome back again to Dubai.  Thanks to Ana and Caroline for being here.  Thanks to all the media locally and international.
Great to see Andrew and Kirsten here back all the way from U.S.  I think as my boss said, it's a greater sponsorship that we going to have with them for another three years to go.  So the ambassador program is going to be good for us, good for Dubai Duty Free, good for Dubai.  We are really looking forward to have more and more.
I think I'm not going reiterate what Colm said, but I might say a little bit in Arabic so the Arabic media can pick it up.  (In Arabic.)
ANNABEL CROFT:  Thank you very much.  I'm sure you would like to her from our gorgeous player ambassadors here.
Let's start with Caroline.  Of course you won this tournament last year, but was the first of six that you won.  Tell us how it feels to be back here in Dubai.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:¬† I'm very happy to be back here in Dubai.¬† I was actually here in in my off‑season and practiced and was here before I went to Doha to play the tournament, so I really love being in Dubai.
It's great to be back.  It gives you good memories.  Looking at the picture and seeing you with the trophy, it's a nice feeling.
There are so many things to do here in Dubai.¬† I've went out and played some golf, which we probably shouldn't talk too much about, because I could do better‑‑ I think I'm better than what I actually am, so my confidence goes down a bit.
But great shopping, nice hotels, good restaurants.  I love being back here.
ANNABEL CROFT:  I'm sure you do.  Tell us what it means to be chosen as a player ambassador here this week.
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI:  I'm very happy to be chosen as a player ambassador.  It's always an honor, and I hope me and Ana and all the players can represent Dubai Duty Free and women's as good as we can.
You know, I think it's always a pleasure to be the ones in front and to show the way.
ANNABEL CROFT:  Ana, let's just hear from you now.  Tell us how pleased you are to be back here and what are your special memories of playing in Dubai.
ANA IVANOVIC:  I love being back here in Dubai.  It's always very nice event.  They always take care of us very nicely.
Like Caroline said, it's nice to go shopping and explore the restaurants.  City is always developing.  It's a great honor for me to be chosen as a Dubai Duty Free ambassador.
It's been a great partnership so far for women's tennis, and they have been a great supporter.  I'm sure in years to come it will be even better and we will achieve even greater things.
ANNABEL CROFT:  And how is your golf?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Not good.  (Laughter.)
ANNABEL CROFT:  Okay.  What are you hoping to bring to the player ambassador program?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, we definitely want to promote tennis in the best possible way.  Like I said, there is a lot of good girls out there.  You know, hopefully Caroline and I can bring a little bit more attention to women's tennis and help Dubai Duty Free and make it even more popular worldwide.
I had a trip to the airport yesterday, which was lots of fun.  I advised everyone to get there early before the flight.  (Laughter.)
ANNABEL CROFT:  Well, we wish you both very best of luck this week.  Thank you very much for coming.  Thank you also to Stacey, Colm, and Salah.
That does conclude our press conference.  Enjoy the tournament.  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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