ITF Press Release, October 31, 2019
The International Tennis Federation has completed a site-visit of the Ariake Tennis Park as part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic test event. Alongside the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and players, the ITF has reviewed progress with the facilities and operational factors behind-the-scenes.
The annual Mitsubishi All-Japan Championships have provided an opportunity to test the venue, with a focus on operations and facilities for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and staff, ensuring the long-term legacy of the new facilities.
Construction of the two main courts has been completed, including a new-look Ariake Colosseum and a brand-new Court 1, both used for the test event.
Koji Murofushi, Sports Director of Tokyo 2020 said, “The good part is we are on time for all the venues, especially as we are building them and the related infrastructure all the time, so that gives us a very big advantage, not having to worry about this.”
“We have great tennis players in Japan. Japanese people are very proud of them and expectations are really high, and together with the ITF we really want to prepare the best we can for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
After winning a single-set exhibition match at the test event, Yui Kamiji gave positive feedback as she led ITF officials around the facilities:
“It all looks very good, I like it – it’s like a very Japanese style of doing things carefully. The organisers care about many details, and they ask me and some other wheelchair players many questions about what we need, and they try to improve more, they want to make people feel welcome.”
Kris Dent, ITF Senior Executive Director of Professional Tennis added, “Clearly a huge amount of progress has been made. Centre court is looking fantastic, all the auxiliary facilities that are required, particularly the indoor tennis centre, are up and exactly how we need them.”
“And a lot of it is good for legacy, you can see how the tennis centre itself, which is a public, community-based tennis club, is going to have a pretty enhanced offering after the Games, and that’s very important.
“As well as the on-court test event itself, in terms of the things we’re trying to achieve, we’re looking at how the backroom facilities are working, where there are areas that need to be adjusted, and where we need to put the contingencies in place.”
Shingo Kunieda, gold medalist at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and recent singles and doubles winner at the Rakuten Japan Open at the venue, also played a short exhibition match at the test event and, like Kamiji, gave the ITF team his feedback about the venue:
“The facility is very accessible, toilets, locker room, and has a lot of ramps, many more than before.”
“I played at the Japan Open this month. It was the first time we played wheelchair tennis at that event and so many spectators came to watch. In the final, there were almost 2,500 people on Court No. 1.
“Japanese people are interested in Paralympics now. Sometimes a home match gives me more pressure, but sometimes the fans give me energy — and I hope it is energy that they give me next year.”