Yesterday (Tuesday), the Israel national team’s press conference was held ahead of the Press Conference in Preparation for the 2019 BNP Paribas World Team Cup, which will be held from May 13 to 18 at the Israel Tennis Center in Ramat Hasharon. The press conference was held at the Dan Lounge at Ben Gurion International Airport hosted by James Richardson, the main sponsor of the Israel national team.
This is the first time that this world championship has been held in Israel and 176 athletes from 23 countries will participate, 44 teams that will compete in four categories: quad, men, women and youth. This is an important ranking competition in preparation for the Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020, and will be attended by the best players in the world.
On Sunday, May 12, at 17:00, the opening ceremony of the championship will be held at the Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center, followed by the games lottery at the traditional gala dinner at Stuko. The finals of the categories will take place on Friday (quad and youth) and Saturday (men and women) and entrance to all the days of the competition is free.
Israel’s teams will compete in two categories: quad and men. Members of the quad team: Noam Gershony, who won the gold medal at the Paralympic Games in London 2012 and has a highest ranking of 1st in the world, Shraga Weinberg, who won two medals in the Olympic Games and was ranked first in the world in singles and pairs and Patrick Ben Uriel with a highest ranking of 18th in the world. The team captain is Ofri Lankri, a former Israel federation team player who has been coaching the national team since 2016. The Israeli team won the World Championship in quad four times and in the last two years finished second in the World Championship.
Members of the men’s OPEN team: Adam Berdichevsky (highest ranking 32nd in the world), Guy Sasson (highest ranking 38th in the world), Assaf Stokol (highest ranking 38th in the world) and Gennady Kokhanov (highest ranking 73rd in the world). The captain is Yuval Lutback, who coaches the team since 2015.
Noam Gershony said: “We are at the peak of the tension and excitement, it’s different to play in Israel against our families and friends. We will give everything to represent Israel with dignity and we will try to bring the gold. We hope that a large crowd will come to encourage us. On the day of the final, the Eurovision Song Contest will be held – perhaps we will bring a double for Israel together with Kobi Marimi. “
Tennis Union Chairman, Dr. Yoni Marom, said: “Hosting the Wheelchair Tennis World Championship is a cornerstone of the Israel Tennis and Sports Association’s policy to increase its involvement in the world through major and important events. The exposure that accompanies the competitive event shows the beautiful and correct aspect of life in the State of Israel and contributes greatly to increasing awareness of the world of tennis at all levels and classes, in the hope of increasing the number of games and competitors and bringing tennis to its worthy place as one of the significant and leading sports in the country. On this festive occasion, I would like to thank the organizing committee, headed by Mr. Avi Lahiani, for planning and executing the production of the complex event involving hundreds of participants, staff and guests.”
Dr. Shuki Dekel, Chairman of the Paralympic Committee: “We have a great privilege to host, for the first time in Israel, the Wheelchair Tennis World Championship. It is a great honor for us, for the Paralympic sports, for the tennis players and for all of the State of Israel. We are very proud of the large number of participants and thank all of our partners in the not-simple logistical organization and I am sure that there will be a great sports celebration. “
Ari Strassberg, CEO of the Israel Tennis Center: “The Israel Tennis Center is proud to host the Wheelchair World Championship in one of the world’s most prestigious tennis facilities, which has hosted world-class players in the past. This is an opportunity for the thousands of children playing in our 15 centers around the country to come and experience excellence, coping with difficulties and sportsmanship, which are the model of education we aspire to impart to the children who practice here. Of course, this invitation is open to any tennis and sports fan.”
Andrew Danos, co-owner of James Richardson Duty Free: “It is a great honor to sponsor the competition and be the official partner of the Israeli team. The connection between James Richardson and the wheelchair tennis team has been around for years and we have now been given the opportunity to sponsor the world’s largest wheelchair tennis tournament, which we cherish. This is one of the biggest sports competitions Israel has ever hosted, and of course, our chances of winning are high. Nothing will make us more proud than to hear the Hatikvah at the end of the tournament.“