Jun 28, 2009

ATP 250 Malaysian Open '09 - The Launch

On Friday, I had the opportunity to attend a media launch organised by IMG at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

I did not know it was the launch of an ATP 250 event as the invitation only stated 'a major annual sports and entertainment event for Malaysia'.

But I sort of know that it was a tennis event - or else why would they want to invite me.

As soon as I registered myself as a tennis blogger (the Media Director was a bit surprised), I took my 'goodie bag' (still not knowing it was the launch of the Malaysian Open) and searched for a place to check out the 'freebies' in the bag.

In the 'goodie bag' - An official guide to pro tennis 2009, ATP World Tour 2009 season book and a ATP 250 Malaysian Open notebook.

Now I bet you can imagine how happy I was when I finally saw the ATP 250 and Malaysian Open logos on the bag!

Then I met up with loose cannon who introduced to me the reporters and people from the press like the Malay Mail and NST.

Being kiasu, I quickly went into the conference room and grabbed the front seat so that I can get a good view to record some footage.

While most people from the media were still outside, I wassitting inside enjoying the slide show - I couldn't believe my eyes that Kei Nishikori, Fernando Verdasco, Fernando Gonzalez, David Ferrer, Gael Monfils and Nikolay Davydenko were some of the players who will be here in September!

With a James Blunt's song in the background, I got goosebumps and a chill running down my spine. I can't remember how many tweets and text messages I've sent out sharing the great news.

So, Kuala Lumpur won the right to host the prestigious ATP World Tour 250 for a period of five years from this year until 2013.

The Malaysian Open, to be organised by IMG, a world leader in sports and lifestyle marketing, will carry a total prize money of USD947,750, more than the amount offered at Thailand Open which is to be held on the same week.

This event will be held at the 16,000-capacity indoor Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Sept 26 till Oct 4. Very, very near to my house indeed!

The Malaysian Open joins the Thailand Open, China Open, Japan Open and Shanghai Masters as Asian events on the ATP Tour schedule.
"There is great demand for cities to host ATP World Tour events and in particular within the Asian region," said Brad Drewett, CEO of ATP International.

"Kuala Lumpur presented a very strong application to become part of the ATP World Tour."
Here's the launch video which I want to share with you.

Tournament director Nick Freyer, who is also IMG Senior Vice-President and Head of Tennis for Asia, confirmed the participation of the 6 players mentioned earlier in this post.

If you haven't watch the welcome messages in my previous blog post, here we go again:

Freyer who received a 'special phone call' in the middle of his speech, later invited the Prime Minister to announce the participation of another player, who turned out to be 2009 French Open runner-up Robin Soderling.

Initially I thought that gimmick 'phone call' came from Roger Federer!

Now during the Q&A session, I managed to ask a question. I was glad when the tournament director assured that wildcards will be given based on merits. I'll be disappointed if wildcards will be given to local players whom I believe not ready to play at this level yet.

The event ended on high note when the Prime Minister officially launched the event and the official website (www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com).

Right after the event, I quickly dashed to the registration counter, got myself the press kit and an extra 'goodie bag' for Esther.

Before I end this post, let me share with you some information which I've got regarding the Malaysian Open. I bet you want to know things like the schedule of event, ticket price, venue and facilities, etc.

Stay tune for more as HCFoo's Tennis Blog will provide you with more info regarding the Malaysian Open.

(Images by HCFoo)

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