Dressed in traditional Chinese attire, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin del Potro stopped by the iconic Beijing Bird’s Nest for a photo shoot ahead of the China Open Players’ Party. “Unbelievable place. The Olympic Stadium, unbelievable memories from there, from the ceremony, so very happy to be back out there,” said Nadal.
The group then headed to the top of the Olympic Tower, where they joined other ATP World Tour and WTA stars at a party to commemorate the start of the tournament. Dimitrov took home the award for ‘best dressed’, along with the WTA’s Petra Kvitova. The evening featured a traditional feature show and charity activity to raise money for the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation.
“I’ve never been to Beijing before,” said Kyrgios. “This is the first time for me, so I was really looking forward to this tournament and obviously this is a nice party.”
Nadal helped raise money for the Rafael Nadal Academy and China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, as he teamed up with Chang and Chinese celebrities for a charity activity on Brad Drewett Court. The World No. 1 and his team played points against a group of children in attendance, and then challenged Chinese football star Hao Haidong in a game of football and tennis.
Michael Chang and his family attended the opening ceremony, held in the National Tennis Stadium, as the three-time China Open champion was named an International Tennis Hall of Fame global ambassador.
“I feel like it’s very fitting that we have this announcement actually here in Beijing,” Chang said. “I can recall playing here in Beijing in a much smaller venue. To see how tennis has grown tremendously over these years in and throughout China has been sensational.”
#NextGenATP’s Karen Khachanov commemorated China’s Mid-Autumn Festival on Wednesday, as he made mooncakes with a chef from a popular Beijing restaurant, Flo. The Russian also practised his Chinese and wished fans a Happy Moon Day.
Tomas Berdych assisted with the draw ceremony and also took time to meet up and take photos with fans.
Players showed off their calligraphy skills during the official Welcome Reception at the Palais, in the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba hotel. Donning traditional kimonos, the likes of Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey tried their hand at writing the Japanese character for ‘Samurai’ or ‘heart’.
Cilic, Thiem, Raonic, Anderson, Querrey and Feliciano Lopez also delighted supporters when they trained in front of hundreds of spectators on Centre Court. The Tokyo tournament organisers have opened the doors to fans for ATP Sunday since 2007.
Dominic Thiem enjoyed a visit to a Tokyo sushi restaurant and the Odaiba-Ferris wheel. The Austrian dressed in traditional sushi chef uniform as he served and ate sushi, and then enjoyed the cityscape from the ferris wheel.
Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who has been recovering from a season-ending surgery for a torn ACL, came out to help with the draw ceremony at Festival Plaza.
It hasn’t been all about tennis for players this week. ATPWorldTour.com provides a recap of the highlights.