Women’s tennis has acquired an increasingly global profile over the years, constantly expanding its footprint. That Singapore will host the season-ending WTA Championships later this year is another testimony to this fact.

Singapore will be the first city in the Asia-Pacific region to host the WTA Championships in the 44-year history of the event and will remain as host till 2018.

The WTA kicked off the ‘Road to Singapore,’ a season-long campaign, here on Monday, which will culminate in the year-end championships at the Singapore Sports Hub (under-construction) from October 17-26.

Adding lustre

An Asian champion, in the form of Li Na, at the recently-concluded Australian Open has added lustre to the event.

“Tennis is the most respected and popular women’s sport on earth,” said WTA championships ambassador Chris Evert.

“Every single round in the WTA Championships is like playing a Grand Slam final. On a player’s mind the tournament ranks right up there along with the Slams,” she observed.

10-day entertainment

WTA chairperson and CEO Stacey Allaster said the WTA championships would be expanded into a 10-day sports entertainment event of competitions, exhibitions, and activities for the fans of women’s tennis in Singapore and around the world.

There will be seven days of competition starting in 2014, versus six in previous years, with eight days of competition in 2015 and on, she added.

Eugenie Bouchard, Australian Open semifinalist, said making it to the WTA championships was one of her goals for the year.

Ninth city

Singapore will become the ninth city to host the WTA Championships following Boca Raton (1972-1973), Los Angeles (1974-1976, 2002-2005), Oakland (1978), New York City (1977, 1979-2000), Munich (2001), Madrid (2006-2007), Doha (2008-2010) and Istanbul (2011-2013).

(G. Prasad is in Singapore at the invitation of the Singapore Tourism Board)

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