On March 7, 2023, TennisBear, Inc., a provider of a digital sports platform that brings recreational tennis players together in Japan, held an event at the Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences Centennial Hall Arena to announce TennisBear's first amateur tennis tournament. The comedy duo Nishikigoi was invited as one-day PR ambassadors to give a talk session, and wheelchair tennis players, Daisuke Arai and Yuma Takamuro were also invited to demonstrate wheelchair tennis. Nishikigoi tried wheelchair tennis for the first time, and other guests also enjoyed a hands-on wheelchair tennis course.
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TennisBear is one of the projects being incubated at the Moon Creative Lab, that powers the creation of new businesses for Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and beyond. TennisBear’s online platform allows users to search and book over 3,000 tennis courts nationwide. On October 3, 2022, TennisBear has spun off from Moon to form a new company.
Currently, the service has 200,000 monthly active users, making it one of the largest tennis court reservation applications in Japan. It also has an event function that allows users to organize their own tennis offline meetings, private practices, circle recruiting, private lessons, small tournaments, etc., helping to build a community of tennis enthusiasts.
The purpose of this event was to announce TennisBear's first amateur tennis tournament, "TennisBear Cup supported by Mitsui&Co. and Moon Creative Lab," which will be held in the summer and winter of 2023. The purpose of this tournament is to create an opportunity for players of all levels, ages, and experiences to play tennis with a sense of satisfaction and purpose.
There are amateur general and wheelchair junior divisions, and the amateur general division is scheduled to be held on July 1st and 2nd, 2023. The wheelchair junior division will be held in early December.
The TennisBear Cup utilizes TennisBear's new "Ranking Point System" feature, where top point scorers qualify for the competition. TennisBear’s CEO Esaki commented, "We want to create an event that everyone can enjoy, and we plan to add categories such as women's doubles and team competitions in the future.”
One-day PR ambassador Nishikigoi's Mr. Watanabe, also commented "It's nice to be able to communicate with many people through TennisBear.” Mr. Hasegawa added "Let’s spread the word about TennisBear! ” and excited the audience.
At the event, two wheelchair tennis players gave Nishikigoi a demonstration of wheelchair tennis.
Daisuke Arai, a Tokyo Paralympic representative and wheelchair tennis player ranked 12th in the world, commented "There are few wheelchair junior tennis competitions, and I would love to contribute to helping wheelchair tennis grow bigger.”
Yuma Takamuro, who was the runner-up in the women's singles of the U.S. Open Tennis Junior Wheelchair Division in September 2022, added, "There are not many junior competitions, so I am grateful to have an opportunity to showcase my hard work. I started playing tennis and then became a wheelchair player. What’s great about wheelchair tennis is you can play with or without disabilities."
Nishikigoi had only played tennis once before and were surprised by how challenging it is to play in a wheelchair.
Mr, Hasegawa commented, "It’s crazy hard to move around in the wheelchair !" Mr. Watanabe added, "It is difficult to operate a wheelchair and play at the same time, but it's a lot of fun."
During the second part of the event, Mr. Arai and Ms.Takamuro provided the general guests with a chance to try wheelchair tennis. Twelve participants, including university students to working professionals, tried wheelchair tennis.
In teams of three, participants practiced turns and slaloms to practice wheelchair operations and hitting the ball while moving the wheelchair at the right time, which many found difficult.
Participants were encouraged to enjoy riding a wheelchair like they are on a ride and participated in a three-on-three match with instructor players. Thanks to the support of Mr. Arai and Ms. Takamuro, the hands-on session was a great success. Even those who had never experienced wheelchair tennis before were amazed by the excitement of the sport.
TennisBear allows users to search for and participate in various events, including different levels of practice sessions and lessons hosted by professionals, as well as a chat function to invite friends or people they have played with and to notify the meeting place or cancellation. The platform also includes a match table function for event operation and a score recording function.
For the latest information on the TennisBear Cup, check out TennisBear's official website.
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