Tennis season will end in grand fashion

Updated: 2011-09-23 07:50

(China Daily)

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BEIJING - Some of the nation's top players are scheduled to play in the Mercedes-Benz Cup Grand Prix event in Nangjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province, from Oct 25-30.

The sixth annual tournament will be in Nangjing for the fourth time.

Several big names will compete for prize money totaling 1 million yuan ($147,000).

World No 74 Zheng Jie will lead a star-studded women's lineup, which also features Zhang Shuai, Lu Jingjing, and Sun Shengnan.

On the men's side, Gong Maoxin, Bai Yan, and Wu Di lead the field.

"No one has yet won back-to-back championships in the Grand Prix, so my goal is to defend my title in Nanjing," said Wu, the 2010 men's single champion, at a press conference on Wednesday launching the event.

The tournament will be played in two phases, with a two-day challenger round and a four-day championship round.

The tour's slogan - "witness the power of the new Chinese tennis" - highlights the efforts of the Chinese Tennis Association to promote the sport at the grassroots level.

The event will also feature a Swing for the Stars clinic and a University Tennis Promotion.

After Li Na's historic win at the French Open this June, an increasing number of young Chinese players have gravitated to the sport.

Swing for the Stars is designed to cultivate future stars in China.

Last year, Roger Federer was on hand to instruct Chinese junior players during the program.

Upping the ante further, the tournament is considered an important tune-up leading in to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Li Lingwei, vice-chairwoman of the China Tennis Association, said she hopes the national team players grab the opportunity to prepare for London.

Li did not disclose China's goal for the Games, but it is widely believed the squad expects a medal following its gold-medal winning performance in women's doubles at the 2004 Athens Games and a bronze medal at the in the same event at the Beijing Games.

China Daily