She's set to make tennis rock in Singapore

She's set to make tennis rock in Singapore
Melissa Pine, tournament director of the season-ending Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals.

Pine promises a crackling show as the Republic prepares to welcome Serena, Maria and Co.

Canadians are cool and I'm not being cheeky here.

They are relaxed and friendly and engaging, and their famous flag with the famous maple leaf share the colours of Singapore.

Melissa Pine is cool.

She's charming and engaging and she adores Bruce Springsteen.

And I guess she's also become an "adopted" Singaporean, if you like.

The Canadian is tournament director of the season-ending Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals, which will be on show here for the next five years.

She is charged to turn the tournament with the richest prize purse into the same kind of roaring success she managed at its previous home in Istanbul.

I pointed out that it will be tough to do, considering the conservative nature of Singapore's fans.

But, she said: "Heh, I was at the finals of the recent Asian netball championships and don't tell me that Singaporeans can't get loud, because that was loud.

"That's what we are looking to replicate, that noise, that excitement, that fanfare."

Pine has tremendous tools at her disposal to get Singaporeans screaming and dancing and providing an electric atmosphere for the likes of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Canada's very own Eugenie Bouchard, 20, the new darling of women's tennis.

She said: "I think that, obviously, we've heard probably similar things that you've said, but we are certainly prepared for a huge fan engagement aspect at our event.

"Our in-stadium experience is going to be enhanced more than it has ever been.

"We have off-court productions that have done Super Bowl half-time shows. We have engaged local talent and acts that are really going to enhance the in-stadium experience.

"We are really excited about the show that's going to be put on and I think the fans of Singapore are really going to embrace it.

"I know that it's in them, and we are going to pull it out of them."

I met Pine after her guest-speaker stint at lunch on Thursday with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at Fairmont Hotel.

"Her people" at the event were clearly proud of her.

Under her stewardship, the WTA Finals in Istanbul became a record-breaking success in terms of fan turnout and digital and social media interaction.

The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SCglobal will be held from Oct 17 to 26 and will be held at the Indoor Stadium at the Sports Hub.

It is a tournament that features the world's top eight women's singles players and top eight doubles pairs and offers US$6.5 million in total prize money.

It is considered the fifth Slam of the women's game, after the four Majors.

On the day I met Pine, the WTA announced a new tournament in Zhuhai, China from 2015 that will be held the week after the WTA Finals here, with prize money of US$2.15 million.

With an already packed calendar, I wondered if the players were being taxed too much?

"We have a sports science and medicine and player development department within the WTA and their whole mandate is the wellbeing of players," said Pine.

"The players' schedules are monitored to ensure their health and wellness are optimised."

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