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Tennis: Greater China to host record nine WTA events in 2016

Maria Sharapova won last year’s Premier Mandatory WTA event in Beijing. Photo: AFP.

Maria Sharapova won last year’s Premier Mandatory WTA event in Beijing. Photo: AFP.

June 11, 2015: Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will host a record nine WTA Premier and International tournaments in 2016, up from two – in Beijing and Guangzhou – in 2012.

 

International-level events will be held in Shenzhen (from January 4), Kaohsiung, Taiwan (February 8), Nanchang (August 1), Guangzhou (September 19), Hong Kong and Tianjin (both October 10).

 

Wuhan will host a Premier 5 event (September 26) a week before the Premier Mandatory event in Beijing (October 3), while the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai (from October 31) will be the final event of the season.

 

The nine events were included in the 2016 schedule approved by the WTA’s Board of Directors, which features 56 WTA events, the Olympic Games Tennis Event in Rio de Janeiro and the four Grand Slams. The Board approved the relocation of International events from Pattaya to Kaohsiung and Baku to Nanchang, which hosted a WTA 125k Series event in 2014 and 2015.

 

The WTA’s long-term strategy of growing women’s tennis in the Asia Pacific region features Singapore hosting the WTA Finals (from October 23-November 1, 2016) for a record five years from 2014 to 2018, and the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai for five years from 2015 to 2019.

 

Stacey Allaster, the WTA’s Chairman and CEO, said: “Our mission is to deliver a premier, compelling global sport entertainment experience that engages our fans around the world.

 

“As the WTA expands to new markets, our goal is for fans to witness the most inspirational sport entertainment experience on earth. Our players compete for the ultimate year-long prize, the Billie Jean King Trophy presented to the champion at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.”

 

Among other changes, Doha will host a Premier 5 event in 2016 from February 22 (Doha and Dubai rotate years hosting the Premier 5 event), while from 2015 the International event in Osaka will be relocated to Tokyo and will continue to be held the week immediately after the US Open.

 

Source: WTA (www.wtatennis.com); Editing by SportAsia

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