Taking spectacle to the heartland

The organisers of the biggest professional tennis event to hit town have pledged to engage the local community, and are committed to make this their focus in the lead-up to the tournament in three months' time.

Preparations for the Oct 17-26 BNP Paribas Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Finals Singapore presented by SC Global are going well, with ticket sales said to be encouraging even though formal marketing efforts have yet to kick into full gear.

"There's still a lot to do because we want to deliver what we promised - a world-class sporting event," said Andrew Georgiou, chief executive of event promoter World Sport Group. "But the key areas are all going well."

He said that sponsorship is expected to hit targeted figures, so focus will now shift to getting people to attend the 10-day sports entertainment extravaganza.

He added: "There's going to be a very clear and conscious effort by us to take this event to the heartland. We want to make this event 'Singaporean'. Not just another major event located here, but to give it some authenticity and a local feel."

Efforts began yesterday in the heart of town, where a countdown display in the form of a giant tennis ball at the OCBC Centre marked the 100-day countdown to the tournament.

In a bid to spark interest in the sport, pupils from Yu Neng Primary School were also given 100 tickets to the event.

The US$6.5 million (S$8.1 million) WTA Finals is one of the most prestigious events on the women's Tour, second only to the year's four Grand Slams.

Singapore is hosting the first of five editions from October, featuring the season's top eight singles players such as Maria Sharapova and Li Na, and the top eight doubles pairs.

Held for the first time in an Asia-Pacific city, it will also feature past greats such as 18-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova in the Legends event, while the future talents will also compete in a Rising Stars event.

The Singapore Indoor Stadium will be the main site for matches, while the OCBC Arena will house the practice courts and the National Stadium is planned for entertainment purposes. Open spaces will also be used for the fan festival activities.

With players such as 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard of Canada enjoying a breakthrough season and making a strong case for inclusion in the main event, tournament director Melissa Pine said there is much to look forward to. "It just shows that there's so much talent, and a lot of faces out there who are just right on the cusp," she said.

"There's a lot of depth to the women's Tour right now and it's exciting to see. It's going to be a sport entertainment spectacle."

Tickets are available from S$16.90 through Sports Hub Tix. For more information, visit www.sportshub.com.sg/WTAFinals


Where they stand

The Road To Singapore Leaderboard is based on ranking points earned during the 2014 season. In singles, players will be able to count their 16 best results, while each doubles team will count their best 11 results.



1. Maria Sharapova 4,880

2. Simona Halep 4,589

3. Li Na 3,970

4. Eugenie Bouchard 3,607

5. Petra Kvitova 3,343

6. Serena Williams 3,211

7. Agnieszka Radwanska 3,158

8. Ana Ivanovic 2,890

9. Dominika Cibulkova 2,739

10. Angelique Kerber 2,603



1. Roberta Vinci/Sara Errani 8,480

2. Peng Shuai/Hsieh Su-wei 4,672

3. Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik 3,530

4. Cara Black/Sania Mirza 3,395

5. Raquel Kops-Jones/Abigail Spears 3,125

6. Elena Vesnina/Ekaterina Makarova 2,837

7. Anabel Medina Garrigues/ Yaroslava Shvedova 2,316

8. Anastasia Rodionova/Alla Kudryavtseva 2,180

9. Casey Dellaqua/Ashleigh Barty 1,900

10. Carla Suarez Navarro/Garbine Muguruza 1,885

This article was first published on July 10, 2014.
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