Stars Shine at Players’ Party

Stars Shine at Players’ Party

Held at the Rooftop Garden of the 5-star Futian Shangri-La on Monday night, the Players’ Party was attended by all the tournament’s top stars. Coinciding with China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, the soiree was especially festive with an Old Hollywood Movie Premier theme.

After a spirited dance performance, Andy Murray, Borna Coric, Denis Shapovalov, and Damir Dzumhur took to the stage. Murray remarked that not much had changed in the five years since he hoisted the inaugural Shenzhen Open trophy, while Dzumhur was thankful that this year’s weather was cooler compared to last year’s when the Serbian defeated top seed Alexander Zverev on his way to the semifinals. Next, the MC introduced Coric and Shapovalov by saying they were very ‘talented and handsome’ to which Coric quipped: “He’s much more handsome than me,” pointing to the young Canadian.

It was then time for the audience to teach the players how to wish each other a happy Mid-Autumn Festival and Murray made a passable attempt at wishing the audience a happy festival back in Chinese. The players then each used a mold to press moon cakes to present to Shenzhen officials in an autographed box.

Afterwards, many of the players remained, generously posing for photos and signing autographs, enjoying sumptuous dinner spread and the festive atmosphere, enhanced by the surrounding buildings in the Central Business District all lit up.

There was also a kids’ element to the party, as a couple dozen children were on hand from the Gemdale Sports International Tennis Academy situated in nearby Pingshan District, Shenzhen City. The academy has both a club and a live-in program where students receive world-class tennis instruction.

Gemdale also has a foundation which sponsors girls from various rural provinces. Eight of those girls aged 7-14 were on hand at the Players’ Party, including Rosie, 9, from Hubei Province in Central China. When asked who her favorite tennis player was, she answered unequivocally “Li Na”, as the megastar is from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. She also declared that, like her idol, her favorite shot was her crosscourt backhand, and that she very much enjoyed ‘all the games’ at the Players’ Party, including floating tennis-themed cupcakes, a ball pit, and multiple photo backdrops with colorful props.

Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov, and more are in action on Tuesday at the Shenzhen Open. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Shenzhen Open website.