Sania Mirza to feature at Hong Kong tennis tourney

October 16th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Maria SharapovaHong Kong, Oct 16 (IANS) India’s Sania Mirza, along with World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Russia’s Maria Sharapova are among the clutch of top notchers who will feature at the JB Group Classic tennis tournament here Jan 7-10, 2009, it was announced here Thursday.The tournament will feature four teams representing the Asia-Pacific, Russia, Europe and the Americas. Each team will consist of three players who will compete in singles and doubles and will be led by a global star player, the JB Group and the Hong Kong Tennis Patron’s Association (TPA) said.

Mirza will compete for Asia-Pacific while the recently crowned Jankovic will head up Team Europe and play in Hong Kong for the first time. Returning to Hong Kong to lead the Americas is 2008 Wimbledon singles and doubles champion and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, while 2008 Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova will spearhead Russia.

The four teams will be placed into a semi final draw with each tie consisting of singles and doubles matches. The teams with the most overall wins will proceed to the JB Gold Group final and the losers to the JB Silver Group final.

The tournament follows in the tradition of other established international team events such as the Hopman Cup and the ATP World Team Cup.

The JB Group also announced it would continue its title sponsorship for a further two years through 2010.

“We look forward to another high quality tournament. It will provide tennis fans with a very exciting team dynamic, especially after the overwhelming success of the Olympics which is essentially a team event,” Jatin Chutke, president, JB Group corporate management, said in a statement.

“JB Group is proud to be supporting this community event and we are happy we can contribute to the growth and success of the tournament,” group head Bhupen Surani said.

According to Ian Wade, president of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons’ Association, “we are delighted to be inviting tennis stars who represent every corner of the World and are thrilled that World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic is spearheading Team Europe.

“Team Asia-Pacific will be represented by Indian superstar Sania Mirza, a very popular player in Hong Kong, which has a huge Indian fan base. Sania’s colourful personality and powerful game makes her one of the most entertaining players on the Tour,” Wade said.

The remaining field will be announced later in the year.

The JB Group is a multinational corporation founded in India 42 years ago that now operates in markets spanning the globe. It has a broad and rapidly expanding portfolio of businesses in property & real estate, mining, oil & gas & alternative energy, international trade & consultancy and diamonds & jewellery.

Founded in 1965, the company has evolved from its base in India to offices and operations in emerging markets across Asia and Africa as well as developed economies in the United States and Europe with over 18,000 employees.

Using Hong Kong as a global launch pad since 1993, the JB Group has focused on the world’s three most dynamic economic hubs, India, China and the Middle East, as part of its drive into international markets.

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