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In the morning of Wednesday, the 31st, the Organising Committee for the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted an illustrious guest. Three-time Roland Garros champion, Gustavo Kuerten got to know the project for the Olympic Tennis Centre that will be built in the Barra Olympic Park. And he was pleased with what he saw. Guga emphasised the importance of post-Games venue use, a concern he shares with the Rio 2016™ Committee.
“It’s very important to get to know the project from planning in order, most of all, to find out how the space will be used once the Olympic Games are over. I believe we face a watershed, in terms of structure, for Brazilian Tennis. We cannot waste this reward”, he said.
Guga met Agberto Guimarães, Rio 2016™ Executive Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration, and Ricardo Prado, President of the Rio 2016™ Sports Advisory Committee. He was accompanied by Rafael Westrupp, Brazilian Tennis Confederation (CBT in Portuguese) Administrative Superintendent, and Luciano Faustino, Commercial and Marketing Director of the Gustavo Kuerten Institute.
Agberto reminded that the Rio 2016™ Committee’s work is aimed at encouraging the Brazilian Sporting Confederations to present a solid project for post-Games venues use, in partnership with the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB in Portuguese).
“Guga would like to work in an area of the utmost importance. He showed concerns about the use of the Olympic Tennis Centre after our event, which will only last for two weeks. Along CBT, he intends to contribute with ideas to present a complete project, a viable plan for post-Games venue use and not only to detect and develop new talents, but a social use as well”, Agberto said.
Ricardo Prado highlighted the importance of the Committee’s partnership with great sports idols. “It was a very interesting meeting and it served to clarify every one’s role in the project. Guga is now aware that everybody here wants the best for Brazilian sport. We need people like him to get involved in the project. He was very participatory and made relevant suggestions. I hope he will now contribute for the Games’ success in the best possible way”, the Los Angeles 1984 silver medallist said.
After the meeting, Guga, Agberto and Ricardo met architect Gabriela Devaud, responsible for the Olympic Tennis Centre project. She presented photos as well as plans and explained what the site will look like during and after the Olympic competition. It is worth reminding that out of the ten competition and six training courts that will be built to host the competition in 2016, the ten-thousand-seat main court and seven additional courts will stay as legacy to the city.
“In legacy mode the centre will be able to host an ATP World Tour 500. Guga showed interest in the main court architecture and enjoyed the location of the Tennis Centre inside the Olympic Park, a prime emplacement at the entrance to the Park, beside the Velodrome”, Gabriela said.
Guga was delighted with the possibility of Brazilian Tennis having its first administrative and training centre. He also said this will be an excellent opportunity to train teachers and enable the sport to grow in Brazil.
Westrupp, CBT Administrative Superintendent, praised the project as well. “For the first time there is the possibility of having a complete structure. We intend to take over the Centre after the Games and rewrite Brazilian Tennis history”, he said.