The BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games will be held at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp from 9 to 15 February 2015. This ladies tournament is in keeping with Antwerp’s rich tennis tradition, but at the same time it aims to be much more. Spectators can expect a total experience.
On 9 October 2014 tournament director Kim Clijsters announced with appropriate pride the rebirth of the Diamond Games at a press conference at the Antwerp Town Hall.
“After seven years, world-class tennis is coming back to Antwerp. The new BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games must not just be a top tournament, but much more, ” Ms Clijsters said.
First Premier Event in Europe – The BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games are a Premier event with prize money of $ 710,000. The Premiers are the biggest and most important tennis tournaments after the Grand Slams. There are six Premiers in Europe and the Diamond Games are the first of the season.
Alain De Greef, Head of Sponsoring & Events at BNP Paribas Fortis, commented: “The BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games offer us, as the main sponsor in the Belgian tennis landscape, a perfect opportunity to promote international tennis and to emphasise its association with our bank. Until last year, we still had the WTA Brussels Open, but unfortunately that tournament has been discontinued for organisational reasons. The revival of the historic Diamond Games enables us to pick up the thread again and our Belgian tennis stars will once again be seen on their home turf. Thanks to this partnership, we can add punch to our slogan ‘We Are Tennis’ and put tennis in Belgium firmly on the map.”
Gold racquet, studied with diamonds – In the tradition of the past, at stake in the tournament is a gold, diamond-studded racquet. Made from 4.5kg of gold and 2008 diamonds, it is worth 1.5 million dollars. Whoever manages to win the tournament twice in three years will get to take home the racquet. “Believe me, that’s a serious extra attraction for the female players,” says Kim Clijsters. “Our prime objective is to have a very strong competition and we aim for a number of big names and several players in the top 20. Such a trophy certainly helps there! ”
Creative Director Elodie Ouedraogo – At the same time, the tournament wants to break the trend and to be very innovative. These new BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games must become a tournament that sends shivers up and down the spectator’s spine. Due to the top tennis, but also because of what is going on all around. You don’t come here for just an afternoon or evening of tennis; you get a complete and varied experience. With numerous extras, themes and surprises.
To achieve this, Kim Clijsters has enlisted the help of Elodie Ouedraogo, who has become the tournament’s creative director. As an ex-athlete, she is thoroughly acquainted with the sports world, but has also made her name in the world of lifestyle, fashion and entertainment. Elodie says: “I will indeed try to do my best to form a bridge between top-class sport and what is happening all around us. Our interests have widened so enormously and diversified in recent years that most people want rather more than just a seat in the grandstand and something to eat and drink. As a spectator, you want to experience something, you want a total package from the moment you enter the Sportpaleis until you leave it.”
Players’ Party for All – “On Monday evening – the first evening of the main tournament – there will immediately be a ‘Players’ Party for All’. Attending that party, to be held in the lounge of the Sportpaleis, will be not only the players, but also 2,000 tennis fans. On Saturday, it’s Valentine’s Day, and we will arrange a great alternative to the classic Valentine’s Day dinner. You can buy a duo ticket as a couple for that day and five couples will have the chance of a VIP reception in the players’ area. The two of you can dine courtside and then spend the night at the Hilton Hotel, where the players will also be staying. And so, we will immerse all the fans that day in a unique atmosphere.”
On Sunday, just before the final, Kim Clijsters will herself play once more. Her opponent in the exhibition match will be announced later. A lot of work is still going into the programme for the other days and evenings.
A diamond as a gift for every hundredth ticket purchaser – Tickets are on sale now. The qualification round begins on Saturday 7 February; the main tournament starts on Monday 9 February. Up to and including Wednesday, you can see either match with your ticket for that day. But from Thursday, tickets will be specifically for either the afternoon or the evening session. A nice surprise for ticket purchasers is that every hundredth purchaser will receive a diamond of a tenth of a carat.
To order tickets and for other practical information, go to www.diamondgames.be.
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