Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus poses with her trophy after defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the 2018 Wuhan Open singles final at Optics Valley International Tennis Center on September 29, 2018, in Wuhan. (Photo: VCG )
In yet another Beyond the Baseline series interview, CGTN Sports Scene joined the recently-concluded Wuhan Open's two tournament co-directors, Zhu Jianbin and Fabrice Chouquet, who spoke at length about the growth of tennis in the host city during the event's five years and some improvements to the facilities that have made both the players' and fans' experience even better.
Zhu Jianbin, the Wuhan Open co-director said, "Wuhan has a relative good atmosphere for tennis as the city maintains a high-level competitiveness of the sport. We have famous tennis players like Li Na as well as many others. Our tennis population has been growing in the past few years."
"We are happy to see that there are around 100 thousand people to watch Wuhan Open every year, at the same time there are many people taking up the sport. For the future, we hope that the Wuhan Open will have a greater impact on both players and audiences."
"Our plan for the event is to further expand our fanbase of the sport as we are trying to build a tennis community to gather all those tennis fans," he stated.
The tournament has been drawing around 100,000 spectators each year and has already become a successful stop in the tour calendar of many of the leading players.
Fabrice Chouquet, the other director of the tournament, said, "It was a big challenge to create and organize a premier five event from nothing. When I came here for the first time in Wuhan, I would say, at the tennis center, it was just a field. I was told this would be a tennis center. And it became that."
"We achieved a lot and worked a lot in the construction of the venue as we had no infrastructure. I built a team with the local people and tried to transmit my experience and knowhow to them. I also brought other people from many different countries, who were specialists in their own areas, to help us," he said.
"We are very proud that we have achieved so much in such a short period of time, starting a tournament from nothing to one of the 10 biggest events on the WTA Tour," Chouquet added.