Stefanie Graf, former WTA World No.1 and 22-time Grand Slam champion, will serve as the Tournament Ambassador for the 2016 WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai. The tournament is entering its second year on the WTA and is the final event of the 2016 season.
The WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai, established in 2015, features 11 of the top ranked singles players along with one wild card and four of the top ranked doubles teams, along with two team wild cards. Held November 1-6 at the Hengqin International Tennis Center, the $USD 2.21 million event with 700 ranking points awarded to the winner, will feature some of the top players in the world, with Venus Williams serving as the defending champion.
"I am so pleased to be the ambassador for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai in 2016," said Graf. "Such a prestigious event in the beautiful city of Zhuhai will go a long way towards supporting the expansion of women's tennis. I have heard great reports from the players and through the press about the 2015 event and I can't wait to visit and be a part of the event this year."
"It's exciting to see Stefanie Graf as the official ambassador of WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai," said WTA CEO Steve Simon. "Stefanie continues to be one of the greatest and most respected players on the WTA with so many players viewing her as their role model. Getting Stefanie's endorsement is another solid testament to Zhuhai's prestigious status. We are confident that WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai will achieve a bigger step forward in 2016 based on their success in the inaugural event last year."
Graf is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. During her career, she won 107 WTA singles titles, including 22 Grand Slam singles titles, the record for most major wins by a tennis player (male or female) in the Open Era. Graf was the No.1 player on the WTA for a record 377 weeks - the highest total for any player since the WTA (and ATP) began issuing rankings. In 1988, she became the first player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Furthermore, she is the only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam event at least four times. Because of her great achievements and her contributions to the sport of tennis, she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.
"We are absolutely delighted that Stefanie has agreed to become the Global Ambassador for the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai for 2016," said Tournament Director Peter Johnston. "Throughout her life, Stefanie has displayed the qualities both on and off the court that make her one of the greatest and most respected athletes of all time. As the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai continues to grow and its global profile increases, it is another important milestone to have the endorsement of such a great champion. We look forward to working with her in lead up promotions and welcoming her during the event week."
Due to its special qualification rules, the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai is a competition mixed with established and rising stars. At its inaugural year in 2015, the event featured three former WTA World No.1 players of Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Jelena Jankovic, along with next generation players of Karolina Pliskova, Madison Keys, and Elina Svitolina. The WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai is managed by the renowned Huafa Group in conjunction with APG.