Between August 28 and September 1, 2023, the press conference of the Senior Turkey Championship, organized by Istanbul TED Sports Club, took place with the participation of Turkey Tennis Federation President Cengiz Durmuş and national athletes Cem İlkel, Altuğ Çelikbilek, Ergi Kırkın, Melis Sezer, and İlay Yörük.
The press conference held at TED Sports Club marked the beginning of the organization where a total prize money of 800,000 TL would be distributed, 400,000 TL for women and 400,000 TL for men, and 122 athletes would compete.
The opening speeches of the event organized at TED Sports Club by Turkey Tennis Federation President Cengiz Durmuş set the tone for the Championship.
Turkey Tennis Federation President Cengiz Durmuş: “Several tournaments are ongoing in every region of Turkey simultaneously.”
Turkey Tennis Federation President Cengiz Durmuş emphasized that Turkey has highly talented athletes who, with the right strategies and timely actions, can excel worldwide. He stated, “In this championship, we are with our talented athletes who work to become the best in Turkey and potentially the best in the world. However, tournaments are ongoing in every region of Turkey. In Gaziantep, an amazing event with 400 athletes is taking place in the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Team Championship. We extend our sincere thanks to the Mayor and administration of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality. Additionally, Turkey Championships continue in different age groups: U12 in Istanbul, U16 in Antalya, and U14 and U18 in Izmir. Alongside national tournaments, we continue to work towards excellence through international tournaments, maintaining our status as the country organizing the highest number of international tournaments worldwide. We will witness a tennis week at TED Sports Club where Turkey’s best will compete, offering enjoyable matches in this magnificent ambiance and on these fantastic courts. Immediately afterward, the international TED Open, one of the oldest and most highly attended Challenger tournaments in the world, will continue on the TED Sports Club courts. The athletes participating in the Turkey Championships will strive to be the best in the world on these courts as well.”
“We see the development of tennis through tournament sounds from Anatolia and the echoes of interest in tennis.”
Cengiz Durmuş mentioned that tennis in Turkey has progressed in the right direction, evidenced by the fact that tournaments are now held everywhere and achieve consistent success. He said, “Turkey has truly become a tennis country. We observe how many countries around the world monitor Turkey’s progress from their perspective; this becomes clear every time we attend international meetings abroad. Our progress in infrastructure and the expansion of tennis aligns with the projects of our Ministry of Youth and Sports. We can see how significant strides we are making together with local administrations to promote and develop tennis at the local level, thanks to the tournament sounds echoing from Anatolia and the enthusiastic calls of interest in tennis. Success is not something a Federation can achieve alone; it requires a system that nurtures children’s love for tennis, leading them from courts to tournaments and finally to finals, involving our clubs, athletes, families, and coaches. This system is established, and I thank the Ministry of Youth and Sports for supporting every project we present to them. I also express gratitude to our Governors, Mayors, and District Governors at the local level.”
National Athlete Cem İlkel: “The Senior Turkey Championship is stronger than ever.”
Cem İlkel, the 2022 Senior Turkey Champion and the world’s 219th-ranked player, shared that he has been participating in Turkey Championships since he was 12 years old. He noted that this year’s championship is stronger than ever before, stating, “I have played in all age categories – 12, 14, 16, and 18. Watching the Senior Turkey Championship when I was young was a great pleasure because it was Turkey’s most prestigious and important tournament. But honestly, I see that it’s stronger than ever now. This shows how much further we have taken Turkish tennis with our President, players, and clubs. We have important tournaments both this week and the following week at TED Sports Club, and I invite all tennis enthusiasts to come. I thank the Turkey Tennis Federation and TED Sports Club for giving us this opportunity.”
National Athlete Altuğ Çelikbilek: “The increased prize money has raised the level of participation.”
Altuğ Çelikbilek, ranked 264th in the world and a member of the national team, emphasized that the Senior Turkey Championship has attracted a high level of participation due to the increased prize money. He said, “The Turkey Championship has been held for years, but in the last two or three years, especially with the addition of prize money, the level of participation has increased, making it a high-level tournament. Next week, we have the TED Open, which serves as a great preparation tournament for us. We are looking forward to playing matches throughout the week and in the TED Open next week. Hopefully, we can offer everyone exciting tennis matches. We thank the Turkey Tennis Federation, as well as TED Sports Club and everyone involved, for giving us this chance.”
National Athlete Melis Sezer: “The Senior Turkey Championship is the most prestigious tournament in Turkey.”
Melis Sezer, a national tennis player with the most doubles championships among Turkish players, expressed her excitement about the tournament. She stated, “It’s great to be part of such a big event. I’ve been playing in the Turkey Championships since I can remember, starting from the age of 12. The Senior Turkey Championship is the most prestigious tournament in Turkey. I’m looking forward to performing well in both singles and doubles this week.”
National Athlete Ergi Kırkın: “There is a strong competition in the matches.”
Ergi Kırkın, who is playing in the Senior Turkey Championship for the first time in the men’s category, commented, “The best male tennis players in Turkey are participating in this championship, which leads to strong competition and exciting matches. We invite everyone to come and watch.”
National Athlete İlay Yörük: “It’s wonderful to play in Turkey.”
Young national athlete İlay Yörük expressed her excitement about being part of such a significant event. She said, “Being part of such a large-scale organization is wonderful. To be honest, I’m excited for this week; it’s been a while since I’ve played in a national tournament. It’s great to play a tournament in Turkey after a long break.”
On Wednesday, August 30, the quarter-final matches will take place, and the Senior Turkey Championship will conclude on Friday, September 1, with the final matches.