TAG Heuer unveiled Singapore’s first floating tennis platform at Clifford Pier last night in front of hundreds of invited guests and members of the public who had gathered along the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.
The star of the evening, world number three and TAG Heuer ambassador Maria Sharapova arrived on a boat to join former world number two Michael Chang at the floating platform where they treated all along the bay to a singles game. Chang, 43, showed he still had the moves that 26 years ago earned him the record for being the youngest male player to win a singles Grand Slam title. Having just recovered from a forearm injury that forced her out of Wuhan, Sharapova looked in good form as she moved effortlessly around the floating court and hit a few winners against Chang to win the game.
For Singaporean tennis players Angeline Devi Devanthiran, 19, and Shaheed Alam, 17, the highlight of the evening was being paired with Sharapova and Chang in a mixed-doubles game. With both pairs holding serve, the game went into an unusual tie-breaker with their combined service speeds determining the winners. The Singaporeans started the contest with Shaheed serving at 158km/h and Devanthiran at 120km/h. Chang went next with a 161km/h serve. With 123km/h as the speed to beat, Sharapova served 163km/h to take the game.
In the Charity Rally that followed, both pairs tried to keep the ball in play with TAG Heuer pledging $100 per rally to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The crowd watched in suspense as the longest of three rallies reached 181. Presenting a cheque of $18,100 to the Foundation’s Director of Development Ms Elaine Tan, Mr Luc Decroix, Vice President of Global Sales, TAG Heuer, said, “History is written in moments of adversity and in the superhuman will to overcome. That will exists not just in sport, but in everyday life, especially in the boys and girls of the Make-A-Wish Foundation who remain strong in the face of illness.”
Demonstrating that will was 8-year-old Joshua Ong who suffers from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and whose wish was to meet a real-life sports superstar. His wish was fulfilled when he presented the new TAG Heuer Limited Edition SG50 Aquaracer to Sharapova on court. The five-time world number one gave him a hug and an autographed HEAD tennis racquet.
At a press conference held later, she addressed questions on her readiness for the Finals saying, “I’m healthy now. I spent the last few weeks healing up and I came out here early to acclimatise.”