Beijing - A new sort of cooperation ceremony was held today at a tennis court in Beijing Potter's Wheel International Junior Tennis Center. Mr. Klaus Maier, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd. and Ms. Sun Jinfang, Vice President of the China Tennis Association (CTA) announced the launch of the "Swing for the Stars" strategic partnership, aimed at jointly promoting the development of tennis practice in China. According to the cooperation agreement, Mercedes-Benz will become the Premier Corporate Partner of the Chinese National Tennis Team and the Title Corporate Partner of the 2008 China Tennis Grand Prix and the Chinese Junior Tennis Development Program.
The relationship between tennis, known as a gentleman's sport, and Mercedes-Benz, of the same nobleness, can be traced back long ago. Mr. Ulrich Walker, Chairman & CEO, Daimler Northeast Asia also participated in the press conference. He addressed: "Mercedes-Benz has long been one of the major sponsors of the world's top tennis events. The nobleness and elegance of tennis is consistent with Mercedes-Benz's brand values, while the enterprising spirit of Chinese tennis players is in line with our brand philosophy. It is these common features that promote the collaboration between CTA and Mercedes-Benz."
Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star shone brilliantly among Chinese tennis stars and junior players at the ceremony. On the arena, nobody was more excited than the young tennis "seeds" that were carefully selected from all over the country to take part in the Mercedes-Benz Junior Tennis Development Program, as they had the opportunity to meet and play tennis with national tennis stars they have long admired, including Zheng Jie, Yan Zi, Sun Tiantian, etc. Mr. Hauber, General Manager of Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd. and Mr. Gao Shenyang, Vice-Director of Tennis Administrative Center, officially started the first friendship match between junior players and national tennis athletes, marking the beginning of the training session of the Junior Tennis Development Program. A special training manual paticularly designed for this program was presented to these young tennis players, who are with great enthusiasm and excitement.
Working in cooperation with every provincial (autonomous regional) tennis association in China, supported by CTA and sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes-Benz Junior Tennis Development Program comprises of a series of training sessions designed for Chinese junior tennis players under the age of 12. It provides specific training to 250 junior players, with100 junior coaches from all over the country helping to improve junior players' skills and the coaches' teaching level. With these approaches, the program aims to develop and prepare skilled and well-trained backbone players to improve Chinese tennis in the future.
Roger Federer, the winner of 12 Grand Slam events and the #1 ranked male tennis player in the world, will also join the Mercedes-Benz 'Swing for the Stars' Junior Tennis Development Program. Considered by many as perhaps one of the greatest players of all time, he has been consistently involved in various charity causes throughout the years. Appreciating the efforts Mercedes-Benz China has made to promote the development of junior-level tennis in China, he decided to join the program. The cooperation with Mercedes-Benz China is the first and only local contract he has ever signed with a world famous brand.
"We are honored to do our share in the Junior Tennis Development Program," said Klaus Maier, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz (China) Ltd., "We sincerely hope the youth development programs we have organized will help the bright development of young tennis players to become tomorrow's success stories in worldwide tennis courts, aspiring for big events such as the Olympics. We wish the Chinese National Tennis Team attains great achievement in the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, as we strive to fully support them for a brighter future!"
Compared with the sponsorship of developed western tennis events, this cooperation with CTA, especially supporting the Chinese Junior Development Program, is of great significance. Many famous Chinese players including Li Na, Zheng Jie, Yan Zi and Sun Tiantian received professional tennis training in their teen years, which laid a solid foundation for their success today.
Sun Jinfang spoke highly of the cooperation with Mercedes-Benz: "The Mercedes-Benz Junior Tennis Development Program is crucial for the long-term growth of teenage players, especially the ones between 11 and 12 years old. Therefore, on behalf of CTA, I would like to express my gratitude to Mercedes-Benz for its support to the program and to the Chinese National Tennis Team and the China Tennis Grand Prix. Mercedes-Benz will be a strong force to drive the development of the Chinese tennis scene."
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