Prague courtship of WTA finals fails

Romania's Simona Halep makes a backhand return to Australia's Destanee Aiava during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne Australia Tuesday Jan. 16 2018

Prague courtship of WTA finals fails

Gemdale Corporation, one of China's largest and leading real estate developers, submitted the winning bid. More importantly, the prize money will be doubled to a total of 14 million dollars.

Shenzhen already hosts a WTA tournament in early January, one of the tuneup tournaments for the Australian Open.

"Shenzhen is an exciting, fast-evolving metropolis of 68 million people", said WTA President Micky Lawler.

"I don't believe so", he said.

"With the support of Lagardere Sports and partners including BNP Paribas and SC Global, we have achieved our objectives of making the WTA Finals one of the most highly anticipated and successful sporting events not just in Singapore but also in the region", he added.

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But the decision to keep the Finals in Asia in a hard window for the North American television market will continue to create challenges in generating interest for the event in the United States, one of the traditional hubs of the sport.

Billie Jean King, founder of the WTA, said it was "absolutely incredible" to witness the growth of the season-ending event.

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon said in 2016 the body was searching for a permanent base for the season-finale, and Singapore was a location it "would be very proud to call home".

Some players complained in reaction that the big money offer from Chinese cities was the deciding factor.

Maria Sharapova said the championship was heading to a place "that's willing to grow the sport".

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Singapore will host the elite WTA Finals for the last time in 2018, organisers said Wednesday, ending the season-ending tournament's run in the city-state.

"If you look at the numbers, and I think all of you in here, if you were a man or woman, you want to go to a place that's willing to invest in women's tennis". That's where we're headed to. "They're willing to build a stadium, willing to accept the game and its level and the players".

The tournament was staged at Madison Square Garden in NY in 1977 and again from 1979 through 2000.

It has also been held in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Munich, Madrid, Doha, Istanbul, and Singapore.

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