ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors has approved the calendar for the 2016 season. As the global leader in women's professional sport, the 2016 WTA calendar will include 56 WTA events, in addition to the Olympic Games Tennis Event in Rio de Janeiro, and four Grand Slams.
The Board approved the relocation of two International events as the Pattaya City and Baku tournaments relocate to Kaohsiung, Taiwan (Week 6, replacing Pattaya City) and Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi province from Chinese Mainland (Week 31, replacing Baku). Host city of a WTA 125k Series event in 2014 and 2015, Nanchang will elevate its status to an International event for 2016.
"Our mission is to deliver a premier, compelling global sport entertainment experience that engages our fans around the world," said WTA Chairman & CEO, Stacey Allaster. "As the WTA expands to new markets, our goal is for fans to witness the most inspirational sport entertainment experience on Earth. Our players compete for the ultimate year-long prize, the Billie Jean King Trophy presented to the champion at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global."
Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which are the key growth markets for WTA, will host a record nine WTA Premier and International tournaments in 2016. In comparison, there were only two WTA events - Beijing and Guangzhou - in China during the 2012 season.
2016 WTA Calendar - Nine WTA Events in Chinese Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan
Premier Mandatory: Beijing
Premier 5: Wuhan
WTA Elite Trophy: Zhuhai
International: Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Nanchang, Shenzhen, Tianjin
The WTA's long-term strategy of growing women's tennis in the Asia-Pacific region is built around an expansive footprint in China and the region, featuring Singapore hosting the prestigious year-end WTA Finals for a record five years from 2014 to 2018, and a newly added WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai for another record five years from 2015 to 2019.
The season-long build-up will culminate once again in Singapore for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global from October 23 to Nov 1.
Other Highlights for the 2016 WTA Calendar:
? In 2016, Louisville, Kentucky, USA becomes host to an International level WTA event for the first time in Week 34 staged the same week as New Haven, a Premier-level event. The United States will host a total of nine events in 2016, including the US Open.
? With the Olympic Games Tennis Event set to take place in Rio de Janeiro from August 6 to 14, Stanford will move to Week 29 (week of July 18), one week after Wimbledon and will be followed by Montréal.
? After the Olympics, the US hardcourt series will resume in Cincinnati (Week 33, week of August 15).
? With an expanded and enhanced grass court season, an International event in Mallorca will debut in Week 24 (week of June 13), opposite Birmingham.
? Doha will host a Premier 5 event in Week 8 of 2016 (week of February 22). Doha and Dubai rotate years hosting the Premier 5 event.
Other calendar changes approved:
? Effective in 2015, the International event in Osaka will be relocated to Tokyo and will continue to be held the week immediately after the US Open.