Wednesday, 31st August, Tianjin PRC - This year’s Tianjin Open will feature four top 20 stars, three Rio 2016 Olympic medalists, two previous Tianjin Open champions and two Chinese heroes after tournament organizers confirmed that two-time Grand Slam Champion and current World No.10 Svetlana Kuznetsova, World No.15 and Doubles Silver Medalist Timea Bacsinszky, 2016 Singles Gold Medalist Monica Puig and Wimbledon semi-finalist and Doubles Gold Medalist Elena Vesnina (World #20) will join China’s Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai for the third edition of the Tianjin Open during a lavish launch ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency Tianjin East earlier today.
The sextet also join the previously announced World No. 4 and 2015 Tianjin Open Champion Agnieszka Radwanska and 2014 Champion Alison Riske in a stellar tournament field.
Kuznetsova is having a stellar 2016 season claiming her 16th career title in Sydney, a finals appearance in Miami, semi-finals in Prague and reaching the quarterfinals in Rome, Montreal and Cincinnati. Those performances have pushed her back into tenth on the WTA rankings and the Russian is looking forward to playing in Tianjin for the first time.
"I have had a lot of success playing in China and I really enjoy playing there, so I am very excited to be going to Tianjin and playing the Tianjin Open for the first time. It is always a pleasure for me to able to go to a new tournament because you get to experience a new city and to promote the WTA and tennis to a new group of fans", enthused the 31-year-old.
Bacsinszky, who almost quit tennis a few years ago to concentrate on hotel management studies, returned to the top 10 at the end of 2015 and has had a consistent WTA season this year reaching the quarterfinals of Rome and Roland Garros, semifinals of Miami and Gstaad, the final of Rabat and won the Doubles Silver Medal with partner Martina Hingis at the 2016 Rio Olympics earlier this month.
The Tianjin Open will also have a touch of gold about it with Rio 2016 Gold Medalists Monica Puig (Singles) and Elena Vesnina (Doubles) making their first tournament appearance. Twenty-three year old Puig set the tennis world alight when she defeated four WTA top 20 players including Kerber, Muguruza, and Kvitova on her way to claiming the gold medal, and in so-doing became the first athlete, male or female, to win a Gold Medal representing her country of Puerto Rico.
"I'm in shock, I just don't even really know what to say. I'm so excited," exclaimed Puig after her gold medal victory.
Puig, who is currently ranked 35 but sits just outside the Top 20 of the Road to Singapore rankings, comes into Tianjin with a chance of qualifying for either of the two WTA season-ending event, the WTA Finals in Singapore or the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
“Winning the Gold Medal in Rio was a dream come true for me, but now I also need to focus on the rest of the 2016 WTA season. I hope that with some good performances I can put myself in a position to qualify for either Singapore or Zhuhai during the Tianjin Open. It will be a great challenge for me and I am looking forward to coming to Tianjin to play,” said Puig.
Hometown favorite and China’s Golden Flower Peng Shuai will be hoping that she can replicate the success of her 2014 semi-final appearance as she returns to Tianjin after missing the 2015 event through injury and joins compatriot Zhang Shuai in hoping to become the first Chinese player to win the Tianjin Open played at the Tianjin Tuanbo International Tennis Center.
“It will be really nice for me to come back and play in Tianjin. It has been a really difficult few years for me, so playing in front of my fans will hopefully help me win a few matches and make me feel like I am back at home. If I can win a few matches it will help me with my ranking, my confidence and to finish 2016 on a high note, before coming back better in 2017,” reflected Peng.
“We are very excited about the player field for this year. It is has always been our goal to ensure that we bring the best players in the world to Tianjin. To have marquee players in Agnieszka, Svetlana and Timea join us along with the current Olympic Champions in Monica and Elena it really is a great result for us but more importantly for the fans who will now be treated to some amazing tennis,” enthused Tournament Director Stephen Duckitt.
“To also have so many players in contention for spots in either Singapore or Zhuhai sets up the tournament for some intense player battles to see who can qualify and will again ensure that fans get to see more history being created here in Tianjin,” he added.
During the launch ceremony organizers also revealed that the tournament will feature a new mascot, trophy, fan club and official theme song for this year’s event.
The 2016 Tianjin Open trophy, designed by local designer Ma Ziqiang, stresses the harmony between man and nature, tradition and modernity and incorporates the five traditional Chinese cultural - metal, wood, air, fire, and earth - into the trophy. The base of the seal, with the words "Tianjin Open", shows the creation of originality, the trophy body represents clouds and watermarks to hold up a bright and energetic tennis ball, representing “sunrise" and a symbol of Tianjin Open’s continual growth.
Further information about the mascot, trophy, theme song and where to purchase tickets can be found via the tournament’s official website - www.tianjinopen.com or via the official weibo and wechat accounts.
Tianjin open has already been held twice. The 2016 WTA Tianjin open, which gives out $500,000 in prize money , will be held in Tuanbo International Tennis Center from Oct. 10th to 16th. Then it will attract more international tennis stars to come to Tianjin, creating the opportunities for the tennis enthusiasts to contact with tennis stars and setting off a craze for tennis in Tianjin.The Tianjin open big family is looking forward to meeting each participant and supporter of them, and also anticipates that they could grow up together with each other.