Shanghai ATP Masters 1000
Tsonga, Verdasco Play Fastest Tennis In The World
by ATP Staff|
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals contenders Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco combined to bring tennis to the fast lane on Tuesday during the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 presented by Rolex. The duo played the “Fastest Tennis in the World” on Shanghai’s famous Maglev train, the fastest commercial train on the planet.
With the Maglev train reaching a top-speed of 431 km/h (268mph), the two players showed the need for speed as they joined forces for a special game of tennis onboard as it sped along the 18.6-mile, eight-minute journey from Longyang Road Train Station to Pudong International Airport.
The train, which began taking passengers to the airport in 2004, is by far the fastest airport rail link in the world and Tsonga and Verdasco experienced the thrill of riding at pace while trying to control the ball on a specially-made shortened tennis court inside the front carriage.
“It was a very special experience,” said World No.7 Tsonga. “I made a few more errors than normal, but at least I was not driving the train because if I made errors then we would all be dead.
“It was great for us to do this activity. It is very different than playing tennis in a normal court. The speed of the train is two times faster than my serve, so it was pretty fast,” added the Frenchman.
The No. 9-ranked Verdasco said he enjoyed all sports that involved speed, though he was reluctant to reveal just how fast he has driven a car in the past. “I can’t tell you that,” he joked. “It was a lot of fun, a good experience and you can really feel how fast it is. But I think nobody won.
“For me it was the first time to ride a train going over 400km/h. I enjoyed it, but I unfortunately I didn’t have much time to see the ride because in only eight minutes we were at the airport,” said the Spaniard.
The two players, who posed for photographs and answered questions from the world’s media, are among the stars at this week’s Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 presented by Rolex, the penultimate ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.
Good performances this week in Shanghai will speed up their chances of sealing a place in the elite eight-man field at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be played at the O2 in London next month.