The Grand Halls on the banks of Shanghai's water thoroughfare, the Huangpu River hosted the launch of the 2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters, Asia's most prestigious tennis tournament.
This globally acclaimed event will once again be played at the unique QiZhong Tennis Center, October 2-15, but this year the award-winning championship begins a new era of excitement and thrills and will be played across Golden Week including China's National Day Holiday.
The 2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters will be staged across two weeks. Two weeks of super tennis with the world's greatest players along with a first international junior tennis event that will be played on the grandstand court and on other match courts.
But the festival of tennis does not end there because the Rolex Shanghai Masters will welcome back an "old friend". For the first time at an ATP tournament, the great ROGER FEDERER will return as a celebrated guest with the title of ICON Athlete of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
Leaders from the Chinese Tennis Association, Shanghai Administration of Sports, Minhang District, Shanghai Jiushi (Group), Juss Sports, Juss Event, Mr. Massimo Calvelli, ATP Chief Executive Officer, Mr.Daniele Sano, ATP Chief Business Officer, Ms. Alison Lee, ATP Executive Vice-President International, Mr. Michael Luevano, Tournament Director of the Rolex Shanghai Masters and Mr. Charles Humphreys Smith, ATP Tournament Council member, were joined by representatives of tournament sponsors to witness the grand opening of Asia's first and only two-week tennis tournament.
Super tournament: Masters Competing at the highest level
The Rolex Shanghai Masters is one of only nine ATP Masters 1000 events in the world and the only one in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been awarded the "Best ATP 1000 Tournament of the Year" for five consecutive years.
This year, the ATP officially announced the global ONE VISION strategy with its upgrading of five ATP-1000 tournaments to two-week "Super Tournament" status, and with that the singles draw has expanded to 96 players. The Rolex Shanghai Masters is privileged to be one of those elite tournaments.
Players in the top 100 of the world rankings will participate if they are not injured. Among them are Novak Djokovic, who is a four-time champion of the tournament; his grasp of the Mandarin language has endeared him to Chinese fans, Rafael Nadal returns as does our defending champion Daniil Medvedev.
The tournament is thrilled to welcome an exciting band of new generation players who have rapidly stamped their mark in recent years: the youngest world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, and the Scandinavians Casper Ruud and Holger Rune who will be participating in China for the first time at a tour level. Add the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and company to the mix and men's tennis is living in exciting times.
And of course, for the first time China's men's tennis will be truly featured at the forefront of the sport at home which will be an incredible thrill. China's Big Three are here - Wu Yibing, the first Chinese male tennis player to win an ATP Tour singles title, Zhang Zhizhen, the first Chinese man to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP 1000 Masters in singles, and the highly promising newcomer Shang Juncheng. Chinese fans are in for a treat at the QiZhong Tennis Center.
ICON Athlete: Roger Federer Makes Surprise Appearance
Shanghai's welcome back to Roger Federer promises to be a mega event. The 20-time major winner, and World No.1, and two-time Rolex Shanghai Masters champion, is an iconic global sports superstar. In a video message to welcome the new upgraded tournament, Roger spoke of his excitement for the event.
He expressed his love for the Rolex Shanghai Masters and praised the enthusiastic atmosphere of the tournament. It was during his message that he announced his return to Shanghai in October as the ICON Athlete of the Rolex Shanghai Masters; his first public promise to return to an ATP tournament since announcing his retirement last year, demonstrating his deep affection for the tournament.
Federer, who has enjoyed countless "memorable moments" at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, is once again expected to have close interactions with fans.
Super Holiday: Fans Can Enjoy Personalized Services
This year, to meet the unprecedented excitement of fans, tournament organizers will launch a variety of personalized ticketing products on the official ticketing channel "Juss Sports App". There will be holiday packages for family trips and sightseeing, "Champion Week" packages for tennis fans, and all-day tickets for the stadium court, providing audiences with more unique experiences and additional services.
In addition, audiences can watch outdoor matches up close, see top tennis players training, and have a chance to obtain autographs of their favourite players. They can also watch indoor matches live which are broadcast on the big screen in the on-site square and fully experience the thrill and excitement of Asia's tennis carnival.
Tickets to the Rolex Shanghai Masters will go on sale soon.
Super Experience: Creating a Warm Atmosphere On-site
This year, there will be a new approach and a creative atmosphere in planning for the Rolex Shanghai Masters along with the layout of the Qizhong Tennis Center as the tournament combines optimizes the visual experience. When fans arrive at the venue in October, they will see the difference and feel the change.
During the tournament, top tennis stars will appear at the official tournament booth, providing fans with more opportunities to get up close and personal with their idols.
Meanwhile, the Grandstand and outdoor courts will host the ITF J100 international youth tennis tournament, covering men's and women's singles and doubles. This is also the first time that the Rolex Shanghai Masters has simultaneously held an international youth tournament which gives tennis fans a glimpse into the future.
In addition, this year's tournament places particular emphasis on digital service. For the first time, electronic ticketing with real-name registration, mobile ordering, intelligent customer service, and other digital services will be introduced to provide fans with convenient experiences.
As the owner of the tournament, Yang Yibin, general manager of Shanghai Juss Sports Industry Development (Group) Co., Ltd., said: "Thanks to the concern and support from all walks of society, the Rolex Shanghai Masters was upgraded to a super tournament this year. This fully demonstrates the enormous potential of the Chinese tennis market.
"With each year, we will leverage various additional resources and pursue greater excellence to bring better experiences to fans. At the same time, we will fully utilize the spillover effects of the tournament, make good use of the tournament platform, and showcase the image of Shanghai."
Tournament Director Michael Luevano said: "Innovation is something we pride ourselves on at Juss Event and in Shanghai. The Rolex Shanghai Masters opened the door to the growth and development of world tennis in China and we are very proud of our achievements.
"We are the first and only tournament in Asia to be staged over two weeks. It will provide players with more jobs, it will provide fans with more thrilling tennis from some of the most exciting and dynamic athletes in the world, and it will continue to be the spearhead for tennis in Asia.
"The new look Rolex Shanghai Masters, which has been developing over recent years, is ready to shine and ready to return, and host the world's best tennis players. We will continue to be the benchmark for world tennis in Asia."
Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO, said: "The ATP Tour's return to China in 2023 is a significant moment for tennis. We're thrilled to mark it with our flagship Asian tournament, the Rolex Shanghai Masters, expanding into a 12-day event. This promises even more incredible action between the best players in the world. We're excited to reconnect with our Chinese fans this season and to continue building on our sport's success in the region."
With this super opening, tournament organizers will continue to bring a series of promotional activities both online and offline, and fans can participate in official events to stay interactive with the tournament and receive more benefits.
With a new tournament and a new journey, let's meet in Shanghai this October for the region's No.1 tennis tournament â¦ the Rolex Shanghai Masters.