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‘FOR THE FIRST TIME ST. PETERSBURG OPEN WILL BE HELD IN RUSSIA AS AN ATP 500 EVENT. THIS WILL BE THE MOST SPECTACULAR AND PRESTIGIOUS TOURNAMENT IN OUR HISTORY,’ ALEXANDER MEDVEDEV

23.09.2020, 20:15 #HOT #Interview #News

On Wednesday, September 23, from 12.00 till 13.00 a press conference with the Organizing Committee of the XXV International Tennis Tournament ATP St. Petersburg Open was held in St. Petersburg’s office of the TASS News Agency. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held online. There were more than 30 credentialed journalists, who had sent their questions in advance and were sending them during the live chat.

The speakers included Alexander Medvedev, ATP St. Petersburg Open Director General, Zenit FC Director General, Advisor to the Director General at Gazprom Export; Andrey Khort, Acting Chairperson at St. Petersburg’s Committee of Physical Culture and Sports; Ruslan Linkov – license holder of the ATP tournament; Vladimir Kamelzon, Member of the tournament’s Board for General Affairs, merited coach of Russia; Vera Podguzova – PR Director of the tournament.

ATP St. Petersburg Open Director General Alexander Medvedev commented on an unusual format of the event when he greeted the media representatives, “We cannot see you today, but we can feel that you are with us.” Mr. Medvedev talked in detail about the conditions in which the preparation of the men’s competition is done, and about how the tournament will be held.

“The COVID-19 restrictions surrounding the professional sports have only just begun to be lifted. We have confirmed all the necessary conditions for organizing the XXV International Tennis Tournament ATP St. Petersburg Open with the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing and gotten approved to have spectators at our event. The allowed number of on-site audience is 50% of the capacity, which means that approximately 3,500 supporters, tennis fans, and tournament guests will be able to come daily. Ticket sales begin on September 28. This year for the first time in the history of Russian tennis a men’s tournament will be held in the ATP 500 status. This will be an exciting high-profile event. Star-packed list of participants for the jubilee edition confirms this fact. We aim to keep the ATP 500 category for the future.”

Alexander Medvedev dedicated a good amount of time to talk about the main draw players. The list is headed by Daniil Medvedev (no. 5 in the world ranking) followed by Stefanos Tsitsipas (no. 6 in the ATP ranking), closing the Top 10 list is the Italian Matteo Berrettini (no. 8 in the world). A sizable number of tennis stars from the Top 20 is something to celebrate for the organizing team and the fans: David Goffin (11), Andrey Rublev (12), Denis Shapovalov (14), Karen Khachanov (16), Stan Wawrinka (17), Pablo Carreño Busta (18), and Milos Raonic (19). For the first time ATP St. Petersburg Open will welcome Grigor Dimitrov (22). We are also about to witness Borna Coric (26) from Croatia. Japanese player with the biggest number of ATP titles among his countrymen Kei Nishikori (35) is coming to St. Petersburg to fight for the title of ATP St. Petersburg Open 2020. The audience will be much bigger this time, there will be TV streams all around the world. Tournament Director General also mentioned the participation of the French players Adrian Mannarino (38) and Richard Gasquet (48).

As for the wild cards granted by the OC, Mr. Medvedev named Jannik Sinner (81) from Italy, Evgeny Donskoy (118) from Russia, and Dudi Sela (215) from Israel. The fourth wild card for St. Petersburg’s tournament is granted by the ATP. The qualifying matches will be tough for such players as Aslan Karatsev (116), Roman Safiullin (187), Evgeny Karlovskiy (254), and Nino Serdarusic (301).

Alexander Medvedev noted that, despite the challenges ATP St. Petersburg Open 2020 is facing, players will visit the Hermitage Museum and the Lakhta Center. A real surprise for all spectators is the draw ceremony, that will take place on October 10, and the musical performance featuring a certain star at the closing show. Mr. Medvedev preferred not to reveal any further details. He also emphasized that the health of players, spectators, and everyone involved in the tournament operations is the priority and under strict control of the Organizing Committee and the ATP team. According to the Director General of the tournament, all aspects of organization meet the requirements of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, there were no free passes in this area. He emphasized that the organizing team is doing a huge amount of work to provide safety for everyone visiting the event.

In his speech Mr. Medvedev thanked the tournament partners and sponsors, as well as media representatives for their trust and support. He expressed special gratitude to Gazprom PJSC and specifically Alexey Miller, as well as to Gazprom Export LLC, for their invaluable contribution to the organization of the tournament.

 

In his opening speech the Acting Chairperson at St. Petersburg’s Committee of Physical Culture and Sports Andrey Khort said that the most appropriate words to describe the jubilee edition of ATP St. Petersburg Open would be “exclusive”, “remarkable”, and “symbolic”. According to Mr. Khort, the sporting event has already become a tradition for the city and the whole country of Russia, and the Organizing Committee keeps raising the bar year after year.

“St. Petersburg’s administration provides comprehensive support for the Organizing Committee of ATP St. Petersburg Open, and the Governor Alexander Beglov is directly participating in the preparation of the tennis tournament. All of us, including St. Petersburg’s residents, miss sports, and we are looking forward to the tournament. The competition has great potential. By supporting tennis in our country, we are helping to achieve a strategic goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle among the citizens of St. Petersburg and its guests, and their appreciation of star athletes often seen as idols helps us do that,” Mr. Khort summed up.

PR Director of the tournament Vera Podguzova reiterated what Mr. Medvedev had said earlier: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, XXV International Tennis Tournament ATP St. Petersburg Open will require special measures, including restrictions connected with access of media representatives to the tournament Press Center. Regardless, their access to matches, press conferences and individual interviews will be granted to all journalists who have obtained their credentials in an online format. The credentialing process begins tomorrow, September 24. All print media, TV, radio, and online media representatives approved for credentials will get access to special personal accounts for their work at the tournament. As during previous years, media representatives will be able to arrange personal interviews with ATP players via individual requests to the ATP. The restrictions are necessary and based on the requirements of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing and of the ATP.

“And now I would like to thank St. Petersburg Metro and the city’s Committee for the Press and Mass Media Cooperation for the provided opportunity to organize an advertising campaign. We also appreciate the participation of journalists in our regular tournament for media representatives that took place on September 17 on the courts of the Tennis Formula club. That was the 10th jubilee edition. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we are keeping all our spectator activities, only this time they will be organized online. The entertainment program includes cyber tennis, cyber football, and cyber hockey tournaments, autograph sessions, and Open Tennis Talks. We will also have our regular contests for the best reporter and the best photographer, and online giveaways on our social media,” Ms. Podguzova said.

For the jubilee edition of ATP St. Petersburg Open we are keeping our longtime successful partnership with Canon. The access of photographers to Sibur Arena will be restricted, but there will be allowed ten of them daily on the condition that they work from specially provided spots in the stands. There will be a Canon center provided for them as part of the company’s CPS program. To get services from the center photographers will have to provide a valid document confirming that they do not have coronavirus. Our partnership with Canon has been significantly broadened for the current edition of the tournament. This time Canon is our key photo and video production partner. For the first time in Russia, for the purposes of the video production studio of the tournament Canon will install eleven latest models of their professional video cameras – Canon Cinema EOS C200, which will allow to provide audience with live streams and video materials of the highest quality according to the international standards.

As usually, Vladimir Kamelzon was brief, but expressive. He noted that Alexander Medvedev has given a very comprehensive description of the Organizing Committee’s work. Mr. Kamelzon emphasized that the ATP 500 category is a fantastic thing, invited everyone to the matches, especially semifinals and finals, and assured the audience that there will be beautiful, spectacular tennis to watch.

License holder of the ATP tournament Ruslan Linkov thanked the whole organizing team of the jubilee edition on behalf of the owner of the ATP St. Petersburg Open Mikhail Mirilashvili. He expressed special appreciation of the work and immense effort of the Tournament Director Natalia Kamelzon. Mr. Linkov has noted that this year the tournament coverage is different, because the event is now part of the ATP pool and will be streamed globally, which will help raise the status of St. Petersburg in terms of its investment appeal.

After all the speeches were done, media representatives could address their questions to the speakers and got exhaustive answers.

ATP St. Petersburg Open Director General Alexander Medvedev expressed special gratitude to St. Petersburg’s office of the TASS News Agency for the opportunity to organize a regular event even in new challenging circumstances.

ATP St. Petersburg Open 2020 will be held in Sibur Arena on October 10-18. The tournament is organized with the support of the title sponsor Gazprom Export.

 

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