WTA finals tournament will move to Shenzhen
SYDNEY, 18 January (BelTA – Xinhua) – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have announced on Thursday, the prestigious season ending WTA finals tournament will move from Singapore to Shenzhen for at least the next ten years.
None were more excited by the decision than women’s world number one, Simona Halep.
“I have chosen to start my season in Shenzhen for a few years now,” the Romanian said.
“It’s a fascinating and friendly place, with some of the best tennis fans in the world.
“I know the WTA’ s partners in Shenzhen will deliver a wonderful and memorable experience for the players, fans and sponsors, so I am thrilled that the city has been selected to stage the WTA Finals.”
Underpinning the move, is a promise from China’s largest real estate developer, the Gemdale Corporation, to build a state-of-the-art, 12,000 seat tennis arena in the downtown area.
The bid was also secured by an offer of record prize money with the top eight singles players and the best eight doubles teams, pooling 14 million U.S. dollars.
“I am impressed by the magnitude of the offer that Shenzhen has made,” WTA Player Council member and former world number one, Sam Stosur said.
“The increased prize money and the construction of an amazing new stadium with naming rights is incredible.”
“The financial backing and government commitment is an exceptional investment in the WTA that will help us to develop women’s tennis in all corners of the world for years to come.”
Due to the tremendous growth of tennis in China, WTA President Micky Lawler, explained that another main reason Shenzhen was selected, was because of the opportunity to expand the sport in new markets and encourage younger generations to take up the game.
“Shenzhen is an exciting, fast-evolving metropolis of 68 million people and staging the WTA Finals there will ensure the WTA’s global fan base goes from strength to strength,” he said.
“As China’s new generation of players follow in the footsteps of Li Na, the local fans will have their own national heroines to cheer, but we also know from our existing events in the region, led by the China Open, that they will support all of the stars of the WTA with tremendous enthusiasm.”
The deal will last from 2019-2028.