Jankovic, Venus and Sharapova head new tennis team event in Hong Kong
Friday, 10 October 2008

AFP, HONG KONG - Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams will spearhead a new World Team Challenge in Hong Kong next year as part of their warm-up for the Australian Open.

The January 7-10 tournament will feature four teams representing Europe, Russia, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
 
Each team will consist of three players competing in singles and doubles, with world number one Jankovic leading Team Europe and Williams heading the Americas.
 
Sharapova spearheads Russia while Indian superstar Sania Mirza tops the Asia-Pacific challenge with the rest of the field to be announced later.
 
The teams will be placed into a semi-final draw with each tie consisting of singles and doubles rubbers. The two teams with the most overall wins will proceed to the final and the losers to the wooden spoon match.
 
The tournament replaces the JB Group Classic exhibition, a traditional women's warm-up event for the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne in January.
 
The new format was part of JB Group's agreement to sponsor the event for another two years.
 
"We have a global event with a global theme and global stars," said Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association president Ian Wade.
 
"The concept has changed, but fans can still see the same big stars that they have come to expect in Hong Kong. The JB Group Classic will be even bigger and better next year."

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