Sofia To Host Tournament Of Champions
Published June 25, 2011 11:07
LONDON, United Kingdom - The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has announced that the Tournament of Champions, the annual season-ending event for the WTA's top International tournament winners, will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The tournament will be staged at the brand new state-of-the-art Arena Sofia, which is set to be unveiled next month, and feature established and next generation stars competing for a share of $750,000 in prize money.
The top six highest-ranked players who have won an International tournament during the regular WTA season and who are not participating in singles for the year-end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, will compete in the single-elimination format event. Additionally, two wildcards will have the opportunity to compete in the event.
The Tournament of Champions represents the championships for the International tournaments, bringing a season-long link and race tying together the 31 International WTA events. This year's Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions will take place on November 2-6, 2011 in Indonesia, Bali, rounding out its three year commitment.
"We are excited about bringing the Tournament of Champions to the beautiful city of Sofia. It has been 22 years since the WTA has held an event in Bulgaria, so it is an exciting opportunity to showcase a new generation of WTA stars to the fans in Bulgaria," said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.
"We are very happy and proud that the WTA chose Bulgaria and Sofia as host of one of the most prestigious events - the Tournament of Champions," said Stefan Tzvetkov, president of the Bulgarian Tennis Federation and tournament director of the Tournament of Champions.
"This will be the biggest tennis event ever organized in our country," he added. "It will be a very good opportunity for promoting our wonderful city and country as a first class tourist, event and business destination. I also hope it will be an additional boost for the fast developing tennis in Bulgaria. We will do our best to ensure a wonderful week for all players, guests and spectators."
Bulgaria's Maleeva sisters - Manuela, Katerina and Magdalena - were an impressive presence on the WTA for nearly a quarter of a century. Each of the women cracked the Top 10 during her career (Manuela rose as high as No.3) and in 1992 all three simultaneously ranked inside the Top 15. The current Bulgarian No.1 is Tsvetana Pironkova, who last year became the country's first Wimbledon semifinalist.
Aravane Rezai won the inaugural Tournament of Champions in Bali in 2009, while Ana Ivanovic triumphed last year.