Fourth seed Ana Ivanovic and fifth seed Elena Dementieva marked the start of the prestigious Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha by playing a historic tennis match staged in an extraordinary place – a desert island.
The Serb and the Russian played on a replica tennis court, specifically built for the occasion, on Palm Island in the middle of Doha Bay in the Arabian Gulf. The whole experience is even more special because of the stunning Doha skyline in the distance.
"It was such a fun way to start the Sony Ericsson Championships; it was amazing and so unusual to be playing tennis on a deserted island with no one there but Elena, myself and the ballboys," 2008 Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic said after the game.
Her opponent Elena Dementieva was also astonished: "It was such a special experience to play a game of tennis in the middle of the sea looking back at the Doha skyline - what a great memory to have of Doha."
The purpose of such unusual places to play tennis is to drag attention of potential new fans and promote women’s tennis.
"We are committed to innovating and introducing unique activities in women’s tennis to continue to attract new fans and broaden the appeal of the sport on a global basis. It has been a great year for the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and I hope through events like this we can attract more fans to the Tour and the exciting prospect of the 2009 season," said Aldo Liguori, Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications & PR at Sony Ericsson.
The season-ending Championships start November 4th in the Khalifia Stadium. Get prepared!
Additional info: Here's the video from the unique hitting session in the bay of Doha.