The ATP will unveil terracotta models of the top eight players participating in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup this November in Shanghai.
In the spirit of the clay soldiers buried with Emperor Qin in 209 B.C., French artist Laury Dizengremel plans to spend three days sculpting each of the faces.
(I drew a line here wondering why a Frenchwoman was commissioned to do traditional Chinese work; a quick view of Ms. Dizengremel’s bio shut me right up. She has lots of experience in Chinese art.)
Kudos, ATP: This is a wonderful way to show the international appeal of tennis (and to market The Masters Cup), and Roger Federer agrees: “I think that being sculpted as a Terracotta Warrior is an honor. I think the idea is fun — bringing together culture and sport — and I’m looking forward to seeing the final result.”
Race to Shanghai: As of this post, only Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have qualified to participate. The others on the cusp are Davydenko, Roddick. Ferrer, Gonzalez, and Blake. (You can view the Race to Shanghai quickly on the tour’s main page.)
Andy Murray and all other players in contention to qualify had their measurements taken at the ATP stop in Montreal. (Behind-the-scenes photos here, YouTube video here.)
Unfortunately for us, the Scot doesn’t really care whether he and his dirt double will make an appearance in the round-robin tourney. He already has one eye on 2008 after a disappointing 2007, which saw him sitting out a majority of the year recovering from a pretty gross wrist injury.
But before heading to the off-season, he’ll join brother Jamie and countryman Tim Henman for a Davis Cup tie against Croatia. Both countries are vying to join the World Group for next year’s Cup.
Read up: Over 8,000 of these terracotta warriors were produced for the burial of the Emperor Qin in 210-209 B.C. It reportedly took 700,000 workers over 38 years to complete. Even better — no two of these life-sized sculptures are alike. (More from Wikipedia.)
Bonus round: The original terracotta soldiers will be on show to the public at the British Museum in London. This exhibition will feature the largest terracotta army ever shown outside China.
(photo of Dizengremel by Pyramid Public Relations; photo of Murray and Davydenko via the ATP gallery)