Guangdong / Top News

Zhuhai gears up prep for inaugural WTA event

By ZHAN LISHENG ( Updated: 2015-07-27 16:25

ZHUHAI, Guangdong - Several brands, both international and local, have partnered with the first WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai to become sponsors of the tournament in November. It was announced by the organizers during a 100-day countdown ceremony in the host city of Zhuhai, South China’s Guangdong province, last weekend.

The sponsors include Peak Sport, USANA, U-CAR, BABOLAT, Liri Tent Technology, Retop, TSINGTAO Beer, Gateway International Vision Education and SAP.

Zhuhai gears up prep for inaugural WTA event

Organizers launch a 100-day countdown ceremony for the first WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai on July 25, 2015. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Peter Johnston, tournament director of the WTA event, said on the occasion that many other brands are seeking to be part of the event and organizers are still negotiating with them. Also, title sponsor has not been finalized, and he refused to divulge further in this regard .

The director mentioned that the construction of stadium is also on track. “The stadium will be fully completed by mid-September and will be ready for an ITF challenger event, scheduled for the week of September 27. It will help to test the facilities,” informed Johnston.

He also said that many exciting names could potentially qualify for the November tournament. Johnston cited Ana Ivanovic, former world No 1, French Open champion and one of the game’s most high-profile players. Also, the legendary Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, Angelique Kerber from Germany, a three-time winner on the WTA tour this year, and Andrea Petkovic are among them.

He said that the organizers are planning to launch a promotional campaign for tennis fans to predict the final players, and win prizes.

“Our global audience will be able to follow the progress of who will qualify each week through the ‘Shine in Zhuhai’ leader-board which will appear on the WTA global and Chinese websites, throughout our own tournament promotions,” pointed out the director.

Melissa Pine, vice-president of WTA Asia Pacific was satisfied with the preparatory work and was confident of the success of the event.

“With such a great host city, WTA is confident that the WTA Elite Trophy event will continue to grow from strength to strength and play an integral part in promoting the sport of tennis throughout Asia Pacific,” she said.

Prior to the 100-day countdown ceremony, Li Na, Chinese tennis icon was appointed as ambassador of the event.

A series of promotions were also launched to make the event more widely known, home and abroad. It includes recruitment of ball kids and volunteers, tennis competition among local universities, ticket-selling as well as a public vote competition for the official mascot and slogan.

Co-organized by the Chinese Tennis Association and the Zhuhai municipal government and managed by Huafa Group, the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai will be held here for five consecutive years, from 2015 to 2019.

This year’s tournament will be at a custom-designed state-of-the-art tennis center in the city’s Hengqin New District and feature a 12-player singles field consisting of players ranked No 9 through 19 in the world. It will have one wildcard in a four-group round-robin format.

The winners of each respective group will advance to the semifinal stage of the event. The final winner of the singles event will receive 700 WTA Ranking points. Meanwhile, the six-team doubles field will compete in a two-group round robin with the winner of each group advancing to the final.

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