Tashkent Open – new start in new format

16 September 2009

Young and admirably beautiful was the capital of Uzbekistan when it celebrated its 2200 anniversary. The anniversary festives and celebrations went far beyond the scope of the enormous official celebrations of 18th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic and have truly become national. And every following event of Tashkent’s golden autumn continues this tradition, bringing its own unique colors into an anniversary palette.

Open and hospitable, having deserved the right to be named the star of the Orient owing to its business and life styles, Tashkent is becoming younger year in and year out. Historical monuments, verifying its centuries-old age, stress the dynamism and modernity of the capital of Uzbekistan. One of the brightest features of the capital has become sportsmanship. This feature can be traced in everything – tremendous sport centres, variety of tournaments and championships being held in the city, patriotism of the thousands of fans army, capable of assessing the beauty of any competition and the mastery of its participants without any prejudice, and enthusiasm of those who introduced sport into their lifestyle.

Traditional women tennis Tashkent open tournament has long ago become an integral part of sports’ portrait of the capital and its charming participants are the favorites of Tashkent tennis fans. Having visited Tashkent each of the tennis players had presented a kind of a gift to the city-jubilee, and new meeting with them will become one of the continuations of the festive celebrations.

Year in and year out Tashkent Open has been becoming an exciting thriller for tennis fans and they preciously recall many bright episodes of its history – the victory of our compatriot Iroda Tulyaganova in 2000, fantastic match of a 15-year Czech player Nicole Vaydishiva in 2004, appearance in the final of Akgul Amanmuradova in 2005 and Iroda Tulyaganova the following year, Paulin Parmentier, a French tennis player, first irrepressible raid towards the title in 2007, last year’s events, and of course its main heroes Sorano Cirstea and Sabine Lisicki, who demonstrated a superb match during the finals.

We traditionally stress, that the capital of Uzbekistan is becoming the starting ground for many young tennis players visiting Tashkent Open. And this is not just a stamp of journalists. It is enough to have a look at testimonials of this year with the participation of last year’s finalists. Sorana Kirstea played brilliantly at Roland Garros. The victory in the third round over the player of the top ten Caroline Woznyacki, and the following victory over the fifth ranked Elena Jankovich showed the great potential of Romanian sportsman, having reached 27th position in world ranking after Open championship in France. After that, the Romanian played two rounds in the Wimbledon tournament, where her Tashkent competitor Sabine Lisicki also played brilliantly. The German tennis player defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round, who displaced Yankovich from the fifths position in the rating. Then, Lisicki beat Woznyacki despite her ninths seeding in tennis hierarchy. Sabine also took Dinara Safina, the world’s top ranked player to three sets

The importance of this tournament is not only that Tashkent Open aids formation of world tennis stars. Firstly, the importance of this Tournament is the influence that it has on the women tennis of Uzbekistan in general. As its merit is not only that Iroda Tulyaganova became 16th in the world, Akgul Amanmuradova reached 50th position, and that growing Uzbek tennis players are also going in the same direction, first time entering Woman Tennis Association in a “home” ground. But rather its influence on the fact that tennis has become one of the most popular and demanded women sports in Uzbekistan bears in fact a greater importance.

The examples are numerous including the distinctive first amateur tournament Uzbekistan Bella Cup 2009 which was organized by retailer company “KOLBERG” on the capital’s “Matlyuba-ona” courts in July. Among 18 participants representing a range of tennis clubs of the capital (but not all) there were 20-30 years old tennis players and those aged over 50 and even 64 years old tennis player.

The head of human resource department of Central aero-geodesic enterprise, Alla Kopirzova, who definitely does not look like she is 64, told that she became keen on tennis at the age of forty: “The fact that I am older than everyone else is inspiring me. To play with young players is an excellent stimulus: if you get a difficult ball, you start to respect yourself more. One can only admire the youthful ardor of Alla Nikolaevna. The same can be said about the manager of the famous clinic MDS-service Mera Karimova, a mother of five children. However, each tournament participant deserves all the compliments. Because each participant is convinced in the statement explicitly made by leading metrology specialist of “Novator” LLC Natalya Belyakova, who plays tennis for about twenty years: Tennis is a slim body, health, perfect mood and communication with wonderful people!

Indeed, tennis has become universal ardor in Uzbekistan. Republican federation is constantly organizing events to support numerous clubs with tennis inventory and equipment, which cherish the growing tennis players with great care. Republic tennis school of Olympic reserve is already operating one year in the capital, and recently a private school was established by the most popular tennis player of the country Iroda Tulyaganova in Samarkand.

This is the reality of Uzbek tennis today, which was rewarded with high “Contribution into development of world tennis” award by International Tennis Federation during a Congress held in Madrid in July. Current Tashkent Open championship with the increased level of tournament and the prize money of 220 000 US dollars will be a new achievement.

And isn’t it symbolic that first four figures coincide with the age of the capital, hosting the Tournament.

Sergey Danilov.