There has been an overdose of international tennis lately, but the Malaysian Open 2010 Women Tennis Championship next month which will see star-studded lineup, is with a difference.
While promoters of previous events have given very little to tennis in Malaysia, except showcasing top class players, Carbon Media Management Sdn Bhd - the organiser and promoter of the event - are working very closely with the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM).
Carbon Media have not only got sanction from LTAM, but are paying a substantial sanction fee, which they will be working together with LTAM to utlise for development of tennis in Malaysia.
Besides, the development programme which will be in place through this championship, Carbon are also working in other areas which will be beneficial to LTAM with long term initiatives.
The first initiative by Carbon Media to ensure that Malaysian tennis benefits was the transformation of the name of the event from Malaysian Tennis Classic 2010 to the Malaysian Open 2010.
The Malaysian Open will be the Malaysian leg of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
LTAM president said at the official announcement of the change of name yesterday morning: "The transformation of this event name from Malaysian tennis Classic 2010 to the Malaysian Open 2010 is in line with our vision of developing tennis withing Malaysia and having Malaysian representation at the highest levels of international tennis.
"The Malaysian Open along with our development programmes and initiatives, fits in with what LTAM are trying to achieve on multiple levels, from grassroots level all the way to the pinnacle Event. This association represents a sustained and long term commitment by the LTAM, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Carbon Media Management Sdn Bhd."
The Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who officiated the ceremony yesterday said: "We hope the corporate sector will share in the government's vision to make Malaysia into a regional sporting hub, and see that by participating in sporting programmes such as this, they can also gain commericial value whilst simultaneously helping the nation."
Big racket for a big event....(from left) National Sports Council director general Datuk Zolkples Embong, Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) president Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff, Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, board of director for WTA tour Kevin Livesey and Executive Chairman of Carbon Media Management Sdn Bhd, Keld Kristiansen.
Indeed, it is good to see promoters of events like Carbon Media, who not only think of making money, but giving something back to the game.
Russian star Elena Dementieva leads the pack of world ranked players for the event scheduled to take place at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort from Feb 22-28.
Dementieva, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist, ranked fifth in the world, will have for company other stars like China's Li Na (ranked 17) and Jie Zheng (35), Germany's Sabine Liscki (22), Hungary's Melinda Czink (37), Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova (44), Australia's Jelana Dokic (58), India's Sania Mirza (56), Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm (64) and Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn (99).
A couple of more players are expected to confirm their participation by the end of the deadline today.
National player Jawariah Nordin has been awarded a wild card entry in the 32-player main draw which offers a purse of US$220,000 (RM748,000).
Tickets for the Malaysia Open are priced between RM13 to RM108 and can be purchased online at www.ticketpro.com.my or at the venue.