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Rio 2016 tennis venue a 'game changer', says Gustavo Kuerten

  • Gustavo Kuerten Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Former world No.1 Gustavo Kuerten believes the Rio 2016 Olympics will spawn a new age for Brazilian ...
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Modified 22 Oct 2014, 14:01 IST
Gustavo Kuerten

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Former world No.1 Gustavo Kuerten believes the Rio 2016 Olympics will spawn a new age for Brazilian tennis, describing the event's venue as potentially "game-changing". The three-time French Open winner said the Olympic Tennis Center in Rio's west would leave a lasting impact in the football-dominated country, reports Xinhua.

"The legacy can be game-changing," Kuerten told rio2016.com.

"That's both in terms of the impact it will have on enthusiasm for tennis and in physical terms, because the Olympic Tennis Center will serve as a flagship training centre and a home for competitions that up to now have not been staged in Brazil."

Work on the centre court arena's core structure has already been completed with the foundations of spectator stands now being installed.

The 10,000-seat venue is scheduled to be completed ahead of the tennis test event in December 2015.

Kuerten, who is a member of the Rio 2016 Sport Advisory Committee, said seeing the arena's progress made the Olympics feel closer.

"As well as giving confidence that the venue will be delivered on schedule, seeing the stadium take shape inspires excitement, allowing us to visualise the matches that will be played there and bringing the Olympic dream closer to us," the 38-year-old said.

Juan Margets, executive vice president of the International Tennis Federation said the facility would allow Rio to host future international tournaments.

"We took the legacy very seriously from the first discussions about this venue," Margets said. "It was important that this facility could host major tour events if one day the circumstances arise. It will be in a position to stage ATP 500 events and the women's equivalents.

"And it has the potential, without major structural modifications, to eventually go up to an ATP 1000 or WTA tier one event, which is extremely important for a region with a strong tradition of tennis, like South America. Along with Parque Roca in Buenos Aires, it will be the major tennis facility on the continent."

Published 22 Oct 2014, 13:59 IST
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