ITF SENIORS WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS
The ITF Senior World Championship is held each year dating back as far as 1958. It is divided into an individual and a team tournament. The individual championship took place from March 29th until April 3rd 2010 in Mexico City and was organized by SAT Mexico Corporation. It was the first tennis world championship of this size and magnitude in Mexico and posed an unprecedented task to everyone involved in the event’s organization.
First steps to an effective outcome
Having organized numerous events of a comparable size and scope, this tennis world championship yet faced the company with a particular kind of challenge. The number of originating countries and logistics required to meet the needs of all different players within their categories and their court preferences posed a demanding task for the company.
In September 2009 SAT Mexico first met with the Mexican Tennis Federation to determine the overall focus and scope of the 2010 Senior World Championship. After understanding what is actually required for an event of this size and analyzing the exact needs of the Federation, SAT Mexico developed innovative solutions for the project which were subsequently presented to the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Success through experience and innovative solutions
One of the early challenges in the process was the development of an effective registration system. A total of approximately 700 players needed to be registered, provided with flights as well as accommodation and transfers, constantly keeping in mind that each player was part of a team as well as an individual with particular needs. Also, the division of players in a total of 5 age categories for both genders, ranging from 35 to 59 years, had to be significantly considered as far as the choice of venues was concerned. The SAT team eventually chose 7 sports clubs that were conveniently accessible from the 3 official hotels and big enough to simultaneously house all games in each age category.
The tournament with players from a total of 26 countries also highly benefited from the multicultural background of the SAT Mexico team as staff could communicate with players in 6 languages (Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Turkish) and thus cater to particular needs and make players feel like home.
In the area of transportation in particular, SAT Mexico had to come up with innovative solutions and approaches to make sure all players arrived on time to training and games. From each of the 3 hotels transportation was provided back and forth to each of the clubs. Due to the fact that training and game schedules were different for each player, a detailed logistic plan and a considerable amount of vehicles, drivers and coordinating staff was needed. Another issue the company had to face was estimating driving times, being a serious challenge when dealing with the unpredictable traffic of Mexico City. But due to the many years of experience of the in-house transportation company and the close cooperation of having different departments under one umbrella, all players arrived on time.
In addition to these logistic challenges in the run-up phase of the championship, the company also faced demanding tasks arising from changes during the event. Players’ training times were changed by the client less than 24 hours before they were scheduled. Apart from rescheduling all transfers to the training venues, the SAT team therefore had to modify all media designed to inform players of their scheduled training and shuttle departure times. Since all information was provided via LCD-screens in each hotel, it was possible to quickly and effectively inform all participants of the changes that were being made.
The majority of players were particularly impressed by the social events which framed the championship and showed Mexican culture in its richest and most beautiful form. The success of these events, namely the Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner, was entirely owed to the close cooperation with the Mexican Tennis Federation.
This cooperation was also one of the key success factors of the entire championship. By understanding the needs of a sports organization and instantly reacting to changes that a tournament of this kind often entails, SAT Mexico turned this sports event into an experience and showed the beautiful host country Mexico from its most magnificent side.
“A large number of players and all ITF representatives have declared this world championship to be THE BEST OF ALL TIMES. […] I am personally proud to count on an extraordinary team of friends and colleagues who share with me the vision of Mexican tennis reaching high levels and the belief that this type of quality international events is a great way to reach that.” – Armando Vega, President of the Mexican Tennis Federation
“It was a great event and SAT did a wonderful job on behalf of the ITF. […] this was the first time that a “service agency” understood the challenge linked with dealing with this large group of tennis customers and delivered what was promised.” – Luca Santilli, International Tennis Federation
“It was a wonderful tournament! From its beginning to its end the tournament was run so professionally and efficiently. Everything possible had been contemplated and everyone involved with the organization was so helpful and accommodating.” – Cora Wills, Team Captain Canada, Maria Esther Bueno Cup