The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has announced its end-of-season tour Championships will be staged in Singapore for five consecutive years from 2014 to 2018.
The WTA Championships, held in the Turkish city of Istanbul between 2011 and 2013, are considered the most prestigious event on the women’s tennis calendar after the four Grand Slams as it sees the top eight singles players and top eight doubles players in the world compete.
Singapore saw off competition to host the event from the three other finalists – Tianjin in China, Monterrey in Mexico and Kazan in Russia.
The shortlist was selected following an extensive global search and bidding process conducted by the WTA that elicited 43 expressions of interest from international cities.
The WTA Championships in Singapore will now see the world’s top female players compete for record prize money of $6.5 million (£4.2 million/€5 million).
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that the sensational city of Singapore has won the right to host the WTA Championships, the WTA’s crown-jewel season finale, for the next five years from 2014 to 2018,” said WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster.
“This is the largest and most significant WTA Championships partnership in our history.
“Singapore is exciting, it’s state-of-the-art and we love the people.
“I am very much looking forward to the Championships in Singapore in 2014.”
Central to the winning bid was the $1 billion (£510 million/€602 million) Singapore Sports Hub (pictured top) located in the heart of the city, which will host the WTA Championships at its 7,500-seat Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The move to Singapore follows other big name sports events being held there, including the Formula One Grand Prix, golf’s HSBC Women’s Champions and the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games.
“We are thrilled that the WTA Championships will be coming to Singapore,” said Singapore Sports Council chief executive Lim Teck Yin.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the sports industry to showcase its capabilities in hosting world class events.
“The Championships will herald a new phase of tennis development in Singapore, which will include enhanced capabilities in coaching and officiating for the benefit of all tennis enthusiasts.”
The 2012 event took place in Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Dome last October with America’s reigning Olympic champion Serena Williams defeating Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 6-4, 6-3 in a one-sided final.
Williams expressed her delight at the tournament’s move to Singapore.
“Singapore is a wonderful city and I am really looking forward to playing our season finale in this exciting new market for women’s tennis,” said the three-time WTA Championships winner. “I’ve been fortunate to qualify for WTA Championships in five different cities during my career and I know that our new partners in Singapore and the fans of Singapore will help make take our Championships to new heights.”
Singapore will become the ninth different city to host the WTA Championships.
The event made its debut in Boca Raton, Florida in 1972 – where Chris Evert claimed victory – and after being staged in various American cities including Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, it was first staged outside the United States when it went to Munich in Germany in 2001, when Williams was given a walkover in the final against fellow American Lindsay Davenport.
Following a return to Los Angeles from 2002 until 2005, it has since been staged in Madrid, Doha and Istanbul.
Martina Navratilova has been by far the most successful player in the championships, having won eight singles titles and 12 doubles titles.
Last year’s event is Istanbul was the most watched edition of the competition with a record 43.8 million viewers.
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. To follow him on Twitter click here. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.