Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tsonga Verdasco tennis match on high speed train

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco, acclaimed for their speed around the court, admitted to feeling a little nervous themselves as they played a modified exhibition match while hurtling around Shanghai in one of the world's fastest commercial high-speed trains.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and Fernando Verdasco of Spain stage a game of tennis aboard the Maglev train

Billed as the "fastest tennis in the world," seventh-ranked Tsonga of France took on ninth-ranked Spaniard Verdasco on a mini-tennis court laid down in one of Shanghai's high-speed Maglev trains on Tuesday as it reached a cruising speed of 431 kph (268 mph) during the seven-minutes and 20-seconds it took to make the 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) trip from Longyard Rail Road station in Pudong to Pudong International Airport.

"The feeling is special because we are going faster than our serve and it's crazy," said Tsonga, who along with Verdasco is in Shanghai for the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000. "You are a little bit nervous when it's really fast."

While Verdasco enjoyed the train ride, he wasn't so sure about the standard of tennis on board.

"For the first time in tennis, nobody won," Verdasco joked. "For me, it was the first time to be (traveling in a train) over 400 (kph). If we don't crash I'm not afraid."

At the Shanghai Masters, Verdasco and Tsonga are vying to qualify for a berth at the year-end ATP World Tour Finals starting November 22 in London.

Verdasco, who reached the Australian Open semifinals in January, is currently in seventh place on the list of potential candidates to take the final three spots in the exclusive eight-man tournament.

Tsonga, who helped his cause last week when he won the Japan Open, is sitting in 10th place on the list.

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