WTA Tour unveils new structure for 2009- 4 Sep 2008 00:00:00
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour has announced its structure for the 2009 season including a number of reforms to the Tour circuit.
The WTA’s new ‘Roadmap’ for 2009 includes the introduction of a longer off-season from 7 to 9 weeks, with season to end in October as well as a streamlined calendar of 20 Premier events featuring top players - reduced from 26 Tier I/II events previously.
The introduction of the reforms are designed to create a more fan friendly and healthier structure to more consistently deliver stars to top events and reduce player withdrawals.
The 2009 Tour calendar features 54 tournaments (inclusive of the four Grand Slams) across 31 countries and record prize money of over $86m. The international breadth of tournaments includes 25 events in Europe, 15 events in the Americas and 14 events in the Asia-Pacific region.
The new calendar consists of 4 Premier, mandatory, $4.5m equal prize money combined events anchoring calendar in Indian Wells, at Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Mutua Madrilena Madrid and China Open in Beijing.
In addition there will be 15 other Premier events, including $2m tournaments in Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto and Tokyo, and other top events in Paris, Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford, Los Angeles, Sydney, Berlin, Eastbourne, New Haven and Moscow.
The season will conclude with the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, featuring equal prize money of $4.45m and the top 8 ranked players of the season.
The 2009 season will also boast record prize money with a 39% increase in value since 2006 as well as equal prize money at all four Grand Slams.
The WTA Tour has also produced a record $710m in new stadium facility investments, including world-class new stadiums in China and Madrid as well as $84m invested in year-end Sony Ericsson Championships deals in Doha (2008-2010 season) and Istanbul (2011-2013).