The WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Open loves stunts. Last year it was Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams rallying in a pool — or rather on top of the pool, on a clear sheet that made it look like they were walking on water.
On Monday, Venus Williams and Andy Murray introduced the patrons of South Beach to “Traffic Tennis,” rallying with each other while standing on the roofs of slow-moving cars on Ocean Drive.
“Traffic Tennis was set against the signature art deco backdrop of South Beach while onlookers marveled at the sights of tennis being played where they would not naturally expect it,” explained the WTA release.
What says glamor more than playing tennis on top of a car? Nothing!
“The Sony Ericsson Open is one of the most entertaining and glamorous tournaments on the calendar,” Venus explained in her promo pitch. “This is not only due to its location but also the activities that surround the tournament, taking tennis off the court and increasing the excitement.”
Excitement was also Murray’s theme for playing in Miami.
“I always look forward to coming back to Miami and playing in the Sony Ericsson Open,” Murray said. “It’s one of the most exciting tournaments on the calendar and events like these help generate a tremendous amount of exposure for our sport.”
Corporate Vice President and Head of Global Communications and PR Aldo Liguori then upped the level of corporate speak, and confusion, adding, “Sony Ericsson is known as a challenger brand recognized for its passion and innovation. ‘Traffic Tennis’ perfectly shows we were able to take the game to a new scenario and audiences simultaneously, thus energizing the total experience of the Sony Ericsson Open.”
“Challenger brand”? OK.
Two SUVs with platforms and safety harnesses were modified by a “stunt rigger” on the roofs of the cars for the players, who probably should have been told to smile in the promotional photos, rather than looking confused and disoriented.
In corporate-speak summary, “Sony Ericsson is able to activate the ‘lifestyle factor’ through the tournament, which in turn help to widen its appeal in the multimedia age and take tennis beyond the confines of the court to new audiences.”
Or in other words — tennis on car rooftops. Maybe it will catch on, something to do when stuck in traffic.
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