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QATAR TOTAL OPEN


February 10, 2013


Nasser Al Khelaifi

Stephane Michel


DOHA, QATAR

TODD NOONAN:テつ Good afternoon, and welcome to the Qatar Total Open 2013 press conference.テつ Today we're very honored to have with us Mr.Stephane Michel, managing director Total E&PQatar, and the president of the Qatar Tennis Federation, Mr.Nasser Ghanim Al‑Khelaifi.
First we'll hear a few words by Mr.Al‑Khelaifi followed by Mr. Michel.テつ
NASSER GHANIM AL‑KHELAIFI:テつ Thank you.テつ
I would like to thank our title sponsor, Total, for their support, because honestly without them this tournament would never succeed as it has in the past.テつ And especially I would like to thank Mr.Stephane for his support and my brother, Khalid, for all their support.テつ They have been a great partner forever, and hopefully we can continue until we succeed and reach our target.
I will pass to Stephane.テつ Thank you very much.
STEPHANE MICHEL:テつ Thank you, Nasser.テつ Thank you for those kind words.テつ Good morning, everyone.
It's a great pleasure for me to be back this year for the International Tennis and Squash complex, to live this new edition of the Qatar Total Open.テつ
As you know, my company, Total, the French oil and gas major have been a sponsor of the tournament for 11 years now, and step by step we have seen the quality of that tournament growing to become what it is today, obviously one of the best sporting events in Qatar, but as well one of the major events for women tennis during the year internationally.
I must say that I'm really very proud to be the partner of Nasser and of the Qatar Tennis Federation to build such success.テつ We have done it in the oil and gas, which is a corp business, in a way, but as a citizen of Qatar, we feel it was a duty to support the development of this country abroad and here in Qatar.テつ I'm very happy to see the result.
We had a fantastic tournament last year with a great final.テつ All the fantastic players are back this year, and I'm sure we are going to have a great week.テつ I'm really looking forward for this match.
I would like to mention two other points.テつ The fact that Total is supporting Qatar in becoming or in being an international player, but as well support Qatar in the development of the young Qatari.テつ And that's very important for me.テつ We do it as part of our employees working for Total, but for the first year this year we sponsor as well the young Qatari tournament with 56 best Qatari players, was able to see them playing last week.テつ There were 8, 10 years, 12 years, women and men, and that's very refreshing.
I asked a young boy eight years old what he wants to become.テつ He say, I want to play like Roger Federer.テつ I ask him, Do you meet him?テつ He say, Yeah, we play with him many times.テつ Because that's unique to Qatar, the ability to bring the best and to try and train the young one.テつ
So I'm very proud as well for the first year to be the sponsor of the young tournament and to continue on that.テつ
You know that the 12th of February is a special day.テつ That's National Sport Day in Qatar.テつ I really want a full initiative from the heir apparent.テつ And for Total it's very important, as well, because that's an invitation for our staff to practice sport.テつ We've got Total Cup with our employees, a sport competition, and it's going to end up on the 12th of February, thanks to Nasser in that complex with the tennis final tournament.テつ And I invite everyone to practice sport on that day.
Last, but not least, we are a French company, French oil company, and you know that the relation between France and Qatar is special, is very important.テつ It symbolize by one Lycee Voltaire, which is the French Qatari school.テつ You have in the same class some Qatari pupils and some French one.テつ My daughter is going there, actually.
We wanted to symbolize that relation between France and Qatar by inviting the classroom of this Lycee to attend on the 13th of February the tournament and to explain them what tennis is and how to become a champion.
Once again, with our partner, with Qatar Tennis Federation, we will be happy to welcome 170, if I remember correctly, pupil of Lycee Voltaire on that day.
Again, I find Qatar Total Open is not just about bringing international players here.テつ It's about setting example and fixing a goal for the young generation of Qatari in terms of sport and in terms of achieving the best as usual this country is doing.テつ
We will have, I'm sure, a great and fantastic week, and we welcome you to the Total booth in the village.テつ We have a change this year, which is called Beat the Pro Challenge where you will be able to serve some tennis ball, and the quickest one will be able to beat the pro will win a prize.
Once again, thank you, Nasser, for your support.テつ I hope you will enjoy the week.テつ Thank you.
TODD NOONAN:テつ Thank you both.テつ We are going to open it up to some questions if you can just raise your hand and we will bring a microphone to you.
(Questions and answers in Arabic.)
STEPHANE MICHEL:テつ The question was in French, do we plan to have a specific ceremony about...テつ You understand now.テつ You speak French.
NASSER GHANIM AL‑KHELAIFI:テつ I do.テつ I think this tournament, you know, we will try to make it as simple and to focus on the players themselves, the level of the players, the tennis, more than, you know, closing ceremony or opening ceremony.テつ I think this is the most important, because sometimes the closing ceremony go over the final.テつ People expecting things more than that, so we focusing the tennis more around the tennis.
STEPHANE MICHEL:テつ And I must say that I fully support that approach, that in a way, for me, it's more important for me to see many young people and many young Qatari in the tribune that you would be able to in the final, because that's where we are progressively contributing to change this country.テつ
So check what's going to happen on Tuesday and Wednesday, because in a way, that for me, even more important that what we get on the final apart from the game.
TODD NOONAN:テつ Thank you, Mr.Michel.
NASSER GHANIM AL‑KHELAIFI:テつ One last thing.テつ I think I forgot to mention that the Diamond Ball will be this year because that's going to be between Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova, which they won the tournament twice.テつ So who are going to win it a third time, they going to own the Diamond Ball?テつ It's going to be big motivation for both players, so I wish all the players the best.テつ
And I would like, you know, as Stephane, my friend, mentioned, to see the center court full of the crowd.テつ I hope they're going to enjoy all the week.
Thank you very much for the media.テつ Thank you very much for you guys, because you are making the tournament very special.テつ You are part of our success.テつ Hopefully that end of the tournament we are going to celebrate to each other.テつ
Thank you very much for everything.テつ

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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