On Thursday, February 25, in Russian News Agency TASS (St. Petersburg) held a traditional press conference for the media on the eve of the VI International Tennis Tournament St. Petersburg. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Alexander Medvedev – general director of St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy took part in the event. St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, General Director of FC Zenit, Adviser to General Director of Gazprom Export; Boris Piotrovsky, Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg; Natalia Kamelzon, WTA Tournament Director, General Director of Formula TX, Honored Coach of Russia; Vladimir Kamelzon, Director General of the tournament, Honored Coach of Russia; Vera Podguzova, PR Director of the tournament, member of the Directorate.
Alexander Medvedev, greeting media, noted that it is unusual to hold the event without journalists, but you can’t argue with the conditions. Alexander Ivanovich expressed his hope that on the other side of the screen a large audience has gathered, approximately the same as before COVID-19 in the TASS press center. Specially for the general director of the St. St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy Alexander Medvedev, as well as for all the participants of the press conference, we will publish a list of the media outlets that took part in the event: “St. Petersburg TV Channel, NTV in St. Petersburg, Channel 78, Len TV 24, Vesti St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Vedomosti, Radio Russia, IA TASS, Diplomat. Ru, The Essence of Events, Sportbox.ru, Business and Our Time, Business FM radio, Procourt.ru, Vecherniy Sankt-Peterburg, RIA Novosti, RBC, Interfax, Radio Peterburg and Vsevolozhskie Vesti.
Paying attention to the tennis tournament St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, Alexander Medvedev said that women competitions have a high category WTA 500, which means that they have always been and still are attractive not only for sportswomen of world ranking, but for fans as well, of course. This year, as General Director of the tournament said, thanks to the support of St. Petersburg Administration, Committee on Physical Culture and Sport, Russian Tennis Federation and Russian Ministry of Sports the international tennis tournament WTA 500 will be held at the highest level again. Thanks to the vaccine developed in Russia and successfully tested, Rospotrebnadzor allowed to get discounts on visiting mass and sport events, allowing local authorities to establish the percentage of fans on the stands, concert stages, theaters and other public events. In St. Petersburg today that figure is 75 percent.
We will be able to see more than four thousand people every day at the tournament, – Alexander Medvedev commented, – and it will create an environment appropriate for a sporting event. The standards have already been tested at the Zenit basketball game against Milan’s Armani at the SIBUR Arena, the traditional venue of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. The presence of 75 percent of fans made the victory easier for Zenit.
In his speech General Director mentioned and thanked the partners and sponsors of the tournament – the title sponsor “Gazprom export”, with the support of which both women’s and men’s international tennis tournaments are held in St. Petersburg. Alexander Medvedev expressed special gratitude to Gazprom, thanks to whose support tennis reaches great heights on the world stage (Daniil Medvedev, Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev).
Alexander Ivanovich also thanked the general partner of the tournament Rosoboronexport, the official car partner PORSCHE and the official hotel of the tournament For Seasons Hotel Lion Palace.
Speaking about the participants of St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2021, Alexander Medvedev said that there were not without losses as two players from the first ten withdrew their candidacy for medical reasons. The young American tennis player with Russian roots Sofia Anna Kenin has canceled her participation in our tournament due to surgery during her participation in the Australian Open 2021. The two-time champion of the St. Kiki Bertens will not be at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy in 2019 and 2020 because of her injury. But the tournament organizers have one more wild card from WTA thanks to which there is still a hope to see a player from the top ten on the courts of the SIBUR Arena.
Nevertheless, the lineup of participants will please the audience: Belinda Bencic (Switzerland), the 12th ranked WTA player, is at the head of the seeding, followed by Belgian Elise Mertens (16), American Alison Riske (26), Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan (28). Dona Vekic of Croatia, who has withdrawn due to injury, will be replaced by 23-year-old Spain’s Paula Badosa. Russian tennis players Veronica Kudermetova, Svetlana Kuznetsova (36) and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (39) will please Russian fans with their participation in the tournament. The list will be continued by Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro (46), Elena Ostapenko from Latvia (47), Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, winner of the 2017 tournament in St. Petersburg (52), Latvian athlete Anastasia Sevastova (53), Patricia Maria Teague from Romania (56), Jill Teichmann of Switzerland, the 58th-ranked player of the world, Catherine Sinyakova of the Czech Republic (62), Sorana Cirstia of Romania (68) and finally Vera Zvonareva, who won one of our doubles tournaments (together with Timia Bachinsky), united at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2021 as a duet with the Olympic champion Elena Vesnina.
According to the tournament’s general director, the lineup of players is competitive, diverse and beautiful. Alexander Medvedev urged the fans to buy up their tickets and come to SIBUR ARENA and enjoy the game, especially because the quota for the sporting event is more than high. Alexander Ivanovich also announced the surprise, who will get two wild cards, – these are Russians Darya Kasatkina (57) and Elena Vesnina, who will play in singles and paired with Vera Zvonareva. The organizers gave the wild cards to the Russian tennis players Polina Kudermetova, Alina Charaeva, Ekaterina Shalimova from St. Petersburg, and Anna Konjuh from Croatia, who has played in our tournaments many times.
Vice-governor Boris Piotrovsky welcomed the speakers and all the journalists on the other side of the screen, he emphasized his sympathy for tennis events, where he is fond of going. Boris Mikhailovich also confirmed that since February, 12 the city has an indulgence on attendance of cultural and sporting events – 75 percent occupancy of the halls.
I am glad that our city is receiving guests again, among them many foreign athletes, – commented Vice-Governor. “For our part the city provides all possible support to tennis tournaments, providing “SIBUR Arena” renting, informational support of tournaments.
Natalia Alexandrovna Kamelson, WTA Tournament Director, warmly thanked the St. Petersburg Government, Committee on Physical Culture and Sports, all sponsors and partners of the tournament for support in organization of the event. In her speech Natalia Kamelzon stressed that organizers managed to keep the tournament despite shortening of international events calendar and complicated organizational conditions for professional sport caused by COVID-19. The St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2021 became a spring event as the dates of the Australian Open changed.
The approval of the new dates of the tournament was not easy, we had difficult and long negotiations with the basketball club Zenit, which has Euroleague games. We are grateful for the club’s understanding and help, and despite all the difficulties we found common ground, – said Natalia Kamelzon.
Among the innovations of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2021 were mentioned: the second court in the Athletics Arena, the tournament will run without referees using the new system Hawk-eye – HE Live, the players will be presented in a new format, using augmented reality.
As for the players’ contact with the press and fans, it will take place in the form of virtual communication, which has already been used in the men’s tournament, including virtual autograph sessions, individual interviews of journalists with the players.
The rights to the international broadcasts belong to WTA-Media. The national broadcaster will be the National Sports TV Channel. The information coverage will be done by “Match!” and “Match! Strana” TV channels in full. The creative component, as always, will be done by the production center #ExecuteDreams that together with the Match TV channel will make the tournament as spectacular as possible.
The tournament PR-director Vera Podguzova announced the beginning of media accreditation, which will last from February, 25 to March, 7 inclusive. And the start of ticket sales for the tournament is scheduled for March, 1.
– Journalists will have more opportunities in this tournament – those who are accredited before March 7, will be able to attend the tournament in person, – said Vera Alexandrovna. – A separate “Sector 11” will be organized for media to watch the matches at the SIBUR Arena. Also accredited media will have access to all press conferences with players through their personal accounts, and for those journalists who will be accredited before March 7 and attend the tournament in person we will set up a special zone on the second floor in the open press center (Tennis Talk) near Sectors 1 and 2 with access to all press conferences with players. The Open Media Center will be limited to the number of seats. The traditional press center will be open only for the official media partners of the tournament, as it was at the men’s competitions. We will not ignore the traditional contests for the title of “Best Journalist” and “Best Photographer” of the tournament, we will hold contests for active users of social networks and the Internet. I also draw your attention that all activities for fans will be maintained and conducted in online format. This includes cyber tennis and cyber soccer tournament, autograph sessions with the players and open tennis talk.
Vera Podguzova thanked “Saint Petersburg Metro” and the City’s Committee on Press and Media for the opportunity to hold the advertising campaign. This year we were given much more places for social advertising than in the men’s competitions.
Vera said that for the eleventh time the W-Pro, together with Formula Tennis-Hockey, held a tournament for journalists. Galina, the wife of Vyacheslav Shorikov, who passed away a year ago, was invited to the awards ceremony. A valuable gift for the press was Vyacheslav’s latest book “Morning Notes”.
Alexander Medvedev after Vera Podguzova honored the memory of another TV journalist, sports commentator, broadcast director Ernest Naumovich Serebrennikov, who passed away at the end of January 2021.
Traditionally, member of the Tournament Directorate on general issues, honored coach of Russia Vladimir Kamelzon finished his press-conference. He always has a lot to say about tennis and tournaments held in St. Petersburg, but this time Vladimir paid attention not to the rhetorical question that a sportsman is created by his coach, whose authority will determine his further career. If we have more than good in the men’s tennis in Russia and its representatives on the world stage, the women’s tennis, in the opinion of the tennis guru Vladimir Kamelzon, is much more prosaic. There is a lot of work to be done. By the way, Vladimir offered to be a personal coach for Boris Piotrovskiy, St. Petersburg Vice-Governor, and offered the latter ten free tennis lessons.
At the end of the press conference journalists asked the speakers questions. One of them was about organizing transport for fans. Vice-Governor Boris Piotrovsky promised to solve this problem, and Tournament General Director Alexander Medvedev said with some humor that if all the tickets to the matches are sold out, then there will be someone to take to SIBUR ARENA. All in all, “It’s time for tennis, friends!”