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international news _ 29th March, 2007

Anyone For (Night-time) Tennis?

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Sony Ericsson used the Miami Winter Conference to promote their new 'night-time tennis' concept this week, featuring flouro-clad tennis stars hitting UV lit balls in totally dark rooms with music provided by Paul Oakenfold.

"I'm a tennis fan, and a sports fan in general, and I loved the idea of bringing sport and music together," Oakey told the Daily Telegraph.

"As soon as I was approached to do it, I was intrigued. Some of the ideas they have for 'Night Tennis' are really pushing the envelope."

The game involves tennis players dressed in glow-in-the-dark clothes smashing glow-in-the-dark balls on glow-in-the-dark courts, with giant video monitors providing more sensory illumination alongside Oakey's trance music,

"This is all about being hip and cool," Sony Ericsson' marketing chief Dee Dutta told USA Today, "Somewhere along the way, tennis became more about backhands and forehands and lost some of its glamour."

The new game's combination of glow-in-the-dark accessories and dance music could interest America's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), however, given the drug agency's successful campaign in 2002 to have glow sticks classed as drug paraphernalia. The notorious drug zealots continue to link glow sticks explicitly with ecstasy use on their official website, with language which sounds ominously relevant for Sony's multi-million dollar UV illuminated event.

"Raves are organized, promoted, and financed by local and national enterprises. Organizers employ bands, disk jockeys, or both. Advertising is via flyers, posters, telephone, radio, and the Internet, which entice the prospective participants," the DEA's 'what is a rave?' page declares.

"Raves feature hard, rapidly pounding music that is usually accompanied by psychedelic lights, videos, smoke, fog, fire, and sparks. Paraphernalia used at raves include glow sticks (to enhance the visual effects of Ecstasy)," they warn.

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