Evert On WTA Championships & Singapore
Published January 13, 2014 12:12
When I think of the truly memorable and iconic moments in the world of sport - the ones where you remember exactly where you were when they happened - more often than not they have taken place at a "pinnacle" event. An event that every athlete dreams of participating in from the moment she or he was a young child and that is the singular focus at the start of each year; an event that determines who is the world champion; that defines a season or even a career.
Such an event is coming to Singapore this year - the Women's Tennis Association World Championships.
I can't wait to be there.
These great moments in sports often take place in iconic cities of the world, cities that come to be defined in part by the role they played in hosting these inspirational moments. It seems like only yesterday that I was playing the WTA Championships in Madison Square Garden in New York. From New York City, to Los Angeles, Madrid, Doha and Istanbul, and now Singapore, each city gets to shine. One just needs to look at the WTA Championships honor roll to know that the best of the best have competed in this historic season finale - Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, me (Chris Evert!), Serena Williams, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters and the list goes on.
And now as we enter 2014 the start of a five year run that will carry through 2018, the WTA - in partnership with the sensational city of Singapore - is poised to take its "World Cup" to a whole new level of sporting grandeur and entertainment. A season-ending finale featuring the world's very best female athletes, battling for the No.1 ranking and a place in history by winning what can only be called the "fifth major" after the four Grand Slams. And what makes the Championships so special is the fact that every match is like a Grand Slam final.
The current WTA stars will be playing for the very first time in Asia-Pacific, symbolic of the growth of women's tennis in the world's most populous and fastest growing region, where a record 17 WTA events are now held. And for its first foray into Asia for a WTA Championships, what more dynamic city could there be than Singapore? A cosmopolitan and innovative city known for world-class entertainment, culinary excellence, global business exchanges, and adrenaline-pumping sports, Singapore is certainly placed for success as a host city. Home to diverse cultures, two iconic integrated resorts and host of Formula 1's only night race since 2008, Singapore welcomed a record 14.5 million visitor arrivals and $23.1 billion in tourism receipts in 2012.
These Singapore WTA Championships will be staged in what can only be described as one of the very best sporting complexes the event has seen - the $1.3 billion dollar Singapore Sports Hub, featuring multiple sporting and entertainment arenas and fan zones that will make for an exciting entertainment experience.
And these WTA Championships in Singapore will also for the very first time become a true sport entertainment spectacle, with an expanded 10 day schedule featuring not only the best WTA stars battling to be crowned champion, but also WTA Rising Star and Legends events, daily fan festivals, a business conference, industry forums, music events and a VIP Experience that will provide the most inspirational and exciting WTA Championships experience in the history of the WTA.
The "Road To Singapore" has already begun, with the WTA Championships serving as our 54 events' season ending "World Cup". The dream of every player is to set foot in the Singapore Sports Hub and to hold the WTA Championships "Billie Jean King" trophy aloft at the end of the event along with the World No.1 ranking.
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na... you can bet you will see these megastars in action in Singapore, along with in all probability one or two breakthrough stars like a young Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Eugenie Bouchard or a star who will have a breakthrough year.
Of course, no one knows for sure who will emerge from another long, tough WTA season to secure their qualification for the WTA Championships in Singapore, but what we do know is that it will be the very best WTA Championships in our history.
I know where I will be in October to witness amazing sporting moments and a world champion being crowned in the sensational city of Singapore. And I hope you can join us in person or through the multi-media channels beaming the WTA Championships to close to 200 countries around the world from October 17 to 26 as history is once again made.
Chris Evert is an official Ambassador of the WTA Championships - Singapore 2014-2018 and a legend of the WTA, having finished the year No.1 seven times, won 18 Grand Slam titles, 157 overall WTA titles, she won the WTA Championships four times and served as President of the WTA for nine years.