40 LOVE History: Stanford
Published July 28, 2013 12:01
STANFORD, CA, USA - This year's Bank Of The West Classic showcased some of the sharpest young stars of the WTA - all four semifinalists were 24 or younger, with Dominika Cibulkova the one coming away with the title - but the event is steeped in history, even older than the WTA itself.
It was in 1971 - two years before the WTA was founded - that this tournament was launched, held in nearby San Francisco in its inaugural year. It moved to Oakland in 1979 then settled in its current home of Stanford in 1997. Bank Of The West has been the title sponsor of the tournament since 1992.
And there's one more thing - it is the longest-running women's-only tournament in the world.
The Bank Of The West Classic has a very impressive list of former champions, including 10 of the 21 players who have reached No.1 in the world - Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams. Navratilova has won the tournament more times than anyone with five titles.
But this has also been the site of many more historic moments, such as Venus Williams playing her first WTA event here as a 14-year-old in 1994, Conchita Martínez sneaking out her only career win against Seles here in 1997 (she ended up 1-20 lifetime against the WTA legend) and, more recently, Serena Williams winning the first WTA title of her comeback from injury and illness here in 2011.