Warriors Ready to Battle For Their Honor
by ATP Staff|
Qualifying for the Tennis Masters Cup comes with a bonus honor this year: All eight players in the prestigious circuit finale have been cast as terracotta warriors. The life-size warrior statues have been created by French sculptor Laury Dizengremel, who began the process of measuring and photographing about 20 contenders earlier in the season during the Rogers Masters in Montreal.
The statues of early qualifiers Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were on display at Masters Series Madrid. The official unveiling of all eight warriors will take place at the Tennis Masters Cup welcome ceremony in Pudong one day before the tournament, which runs November 11-18.
The Terracotta Warriors are symbolic of China's history and internationally recognized around the world. The Terracotta Army was originally created to be buried with the Emperor of Qin in 210-209 BC and it is believed to have taken some 700,000 workers and craftsmen 38 years to complete. The Army was only rediscovered in 1974 and 8,099 figures have since been unearthed around the Emperor's tomb. The site in China has become a major tourist attraction with nearly two million people visiting annually.
Check out the Terracotta Warriors micro-site
ATP World No. 1 Federer said, "It's always one of the goals you set at the beginning of the year, trying to be there with the other top seven or eight players, to battle it out. I've had some great Tennis Masters Cups in my career, it's always been one of the highlights of the year, and Shanghai is a terrific venue. I think that being sculpted as a Terracotta Warrior is an honour, I think the idea is fun, bringing together culture and sport."
Three-time reigning Roland Garros champion Nadal said, "Anything that promotes tennis in a very important market like China is good. The Tennis Masters Cup is the last tournament of the season, and is special because you play against the best, so I'm very happy to have qualified for Shanghai."
Coincidentally, since mid-September the original Terracotta Warriors have been on show to the public at the British Museum in London, England, in an exhibition comprising the largest collection of the Terracotta Army ever shown outside China.
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