On Sunday, February 5, the special guest of the tournament and the star of British soul John Newman met the press and the spectators who flocked to “SIBUR ARENA” stadium to watch the doubles and singles finals. That informal press-conference held in the fan zone of “SIBUR ARENA” shortly became a sort of flash mob or, rather, a lively dialogue of the singer and the tennis crowd. Not only as journalists but spectators as well could ask their questions (provided they could catch one of the five tennis balls autographed and thrown into the crowd by the Brit from the improvised stage as if he were a tennis star.
In his welcoming speech John thanked everybody who came to see him as he didn’t expect to see a lot of people. «It’s a pleasure to be here and feel such incredible attention, thank you everybody. I was preparing in my hotel room and there was a lot of political talking in Britain about women’s rights and things like that and I just think just the women’s sports is progressing so it was amazing to come here to this tennis tournament”, – the singer said.
A big fan of John Newman booked her seat in advance in the first row – Natalia Vikhlyantseva, semifinalist of St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2017 who was dying to see her musical idol and even cracked a joke – to the effect that she reached the semis and broke into Top100 only because she wanted to come and to see him. Natalia was brave enough to ask the first question: “Have you ever tried to play tennis?”
“I am really bad, I tried but I didn’t do it really well. I am really good at table tennis, it’s because I think I don’t have to run much which is good. I have a table for table tennis. Though maybe here I could get some lessons in lawn tennis”, – John answered.
The concept of the international tennis tournament WTA St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2017 was built around the songs of the British singer. The images of beautiful ladies inspired the organizers of the tournament, the company “Formula TX”. The idea of Girl Power became a leading theme of the tournament. “It’s really bizarre to be here with so many people, because I am used to work at home”. After his first rehearsal yesterday John said it was a different ball game versus preparing the show via Skype and e-mails: “It was really-really hard doing this via e-mails and some stuff like that and yesterday I saw the results of that collaboration and the show is gonna be really-really cool”.
“Where do you get your inspiration from?” – the first question from spectators followed.
“The key thing is get inspired by ordinary things. The inspiration comes for me from my family and from my house in the countryside, from travelling and meeting people, from my friends. You don’t need to travel somewhere too far like India to get inspired”, – he said.
Newman also mentioned he will watch the finals with great pleasure and also he said one of his tennis idols was Tim Henman. Natalia Kamelzon, the director of the tournament St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, put a final touch on the meet with the star: “John, you and I – my team and you – we are pioneers in tennis and sports because we are the first to come up with the a right synergy between show, music and professional sports”.
The crowd awarded the singer with uproarious applause for his full and sincere answers. An autograph session followed-up.