WTA Stars Show Their Support For Japan
Published September 26, 2011 12:00
TOKYO, Japan - It was an emotional yet hopeful day at the Toray Pan Pacific Open Sunday, as WTA players and staff gathered for a disaster relief ceremony on Center Court before the day's play began at the Premier-level event.
In the wake of Japan's tsunami disasters from earlier in the year, WTA stars including Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Petra Kvitova, Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Ayumi Morita and Misaki Doi took to the court and held up a banner, which was signed by all. Wozniacki and Morita both made moving speeches and among the initiatives this week to raise money for the disaster will be an auction of player equipment and clothing.
Morita, Japan's No.1 player who went on to win her match later in the day, spoke about the ceremony. "I would really like to thank all the players because it's not easy to come and do this before the match," the 21-year-old said.
Morita's win came against American Irina Falconi, 75 61. "It means a lot to be playing in front of the Japanese fans again, especially after the disaster earlier this year. I'm happy to be playing here at home in front of such a big crowd."
Now the Japanese No.1 ahead of WTA veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, Morita says she welcomes the pressure of being her country's top player. "Of course I feel a bit of pressure, but at the same time I'm very proud and happy to have my ranking. I just want to play my best every match and win as much as I can."
WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster will also be visiting the tournament later in the week to show her support for Japan in the country's time of need.