World’s Top Eight Tennis Players to be Cast as Chinese Terracotta Warriors
The tournament pits the top eight male tennis players in the world against each other as they battle it out for the end of year title and the biggest cash prizes in tennis ($4,450,000). Players compete for ATP Race points throughout the season in a bid to seal one of the eight coveted Tennis Masters Cup berths.
The life-size warrior statues will be created by French sculptor Laury Dizengremel in China and will be unveiled all together as a group at the event in Shanghai, which begins on November 11. Players in contention to qualify for the tournament met with the artist at the ATP Masters Series event in Montreal, Canada, where they were measured and photographed ahead of their sculpting.
The Terracotta Warriors are symbolic of China’s history and internationally recognised around the world. The Terracotta Army were 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.
World No.1 Roger Federer and No.2 Rafael Nadal qualified for the tournament following Wimbledon this year, while rising star Novak Djokovic sealed his place during his recent run to the US Open final. The remaining five places will be determined as the ATP Race comes to a climax following the US Open, with the likes of Andy Roddick, James Blake and Nikolay Davydenko all in the running.
Recent US Open champion, Roger Federer said, "It's always one of the goals you set at 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, and I'm looking forward to seeing the final result."
Meanwhile, 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, from mid-September the original Terracotta Warriors will be 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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