This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of World Gaming magazine.
The Cotai Arena at the Venetian has again brought a world-class tennis event to Macau. In its four year history the Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown has attracted names like Federer, Sampras, Borg, McEnroe and Agassi. 2010 is the first year four of the best top 11 players have made the journey, and this has boosted this event’s international credibility even further.
Robin Soderling, Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych showcased four single set, singles matches followed by a set of doubles. The crowd was entertained with a great afternoon of fast-paced, good spirited grunting and groaning by these talented individuals who are all vying to knock Federer and Nadal from their top spots.
Let’s look at the credentials of these four tennis superstars who kick-started their Asian campaigns in Macau.
Robin Soderling has single-handedly put Sweden back on the tennis map. After names like Borg and Edberg thrilled audiences worldwide, the Scandinavian tennis superpower had spent over a decade in the wilderness. A softly spoken giant, Soderling is a powerhouse player, and is currently ranked number five in the world. Just behind him ranked number six is Nikolay Davydenko. The witty Russian has been at the top of world tennis for some time and if it hadn’t been for Federer and Nadal, Davydenko would have been a red-hot favourite for numerous Grand Slams in recent years. He is a darling of the media and is never short of something to say.
World number seven Tomas Berdych is the emerging superstar of the four players. The former Czechoslovakia has a rich history of tennis superstars and Berdych will have dreams of becoming the most dominant and famous of the lot. This guy has it all: a big powerful game and significant experience against the best in the world. He made this year’s Wimbledon final and most experts believe that a Grand Slam title is just around the corner.
The last of the quartet is Spaniard David Ferrer who is currently just outside the world’s top ten sitting at number 11. Ferrer is one of the most consistent players on the tour and has amassed eight career titles. Like most of his countrymen his favourite surface is clay but he has won tournaments on hard courts as well.
The format of the Venetian tournament saw a combination of singles and doubles play, giving the crowd over five hours of world-class tennis.
Gunther Hall, Senior Vice President of Operations for Venetian Macau said, “we pride ourselves in being the best at whatever we do and being able to deliver three or four…of the world’s current top-10 men, with such a compelling format of singles and doubles, will give fans a superb taste of the best in modern men’s tennis”.
It turned out to be an impressive afternoon’s tennis and the crowd came away surprised at the pace of the play. Eventually it was Robin Soderling who prevailed to take the increasingly coveted trophy. He defeated Ferrer in his first match and then beat Davydenko in the final. It was a fitting result as the big-serving Swede played the best tennis of the tournament. Ferrer and Berdych maintained some face by winning the doubles encounter, which was a more laid-back affair but still gave the crowd some thrilling action.
Masters tournaments with former champions gracing the court are entertaining crowd-pleasers, but it is even better to have these current-day heavyweights hitting it out against each other. This year’s four superstars are at the top of the tennis world and pulled no punches in striving to win the tournament. The Macau Tennis Showdown goes from strength to strength and we here at World Gaming can’t wait to see what the Venetian has in store for us next year.