The 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen is set to offer the biggest prize money check in the history of men's or women's professional tennis.
The season-ending Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen is the tour's crown jewel event, pitting the top eight finishers on the season-long Porsche Race to Shenzhen against each other in a two-group round-robin format. The total prize money on offer in the inaugural staging of the event in Shenzhen, China is $14 million, doubling the event's previous prize purse of $7 million.
An undefeated singles champion of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen is set to earn a record-breaking $4.75 million, eclipsing the champion's prize money mark set by the US Open:
By way of comparison, here's how the champion's check in Shenzhen stacks up with other recent sporting events:
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion Team: $4M
2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Champion Team: $4M
2018 ATP Finals: $2.71M (undefeated champion)
2019 Masters Champion: $2.07M
2019 U.S. Women's Open Golf Championship: $1M
2019 Tour de France Champion: 500,000 Euros
Since 2003, when the WTA Finals moved to its current round-robin format, a champion has gone undefeated eight times. Ukraine's Elina Svitolina won the title last fall, becoming the first undefeated WTA Finals champion since Serena Williams in 2013.
Here is the prize money breakdown for the 2019 Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen:
WTA FINALS CHAMPION
$4,725,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$4,420,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$4,115,000 – if 1 round-robin win
WTA FINALS RUNNER-UP
$2,400,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$2,095,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$1,790,000 – if 1 round-robin win
WTA FINALS SEMIFINALISTS
$1,300,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$995,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$690,000 – if 1 round-robin win
The first edition of the WTA Finals was held in 1972 in Boca Raton, Florida, with the champion eligible for a $25,000 winner's check. Since then, 12 cities in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Asia have hosted the WTA Finals, with Singapore passing the torch to Shenzhen this season, in a landmark 10-year hosting deal.
The WTA Finals has seen 22 different champions lift the Billie Jean King Trophy, with the most successful women being four of the game's greatest. Martina Navratilova set the mark by winning the title eight times, followed by Stefanie Graf and Serena Williams, who won five times apiece, with Chris Evert winning four times.
The doubles champions at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen could also set a record for prize money. The doubles competition, which features the Top 8 teams on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen, will return to a two-group round-robin format this year. An undefeated team could win $1 million, the largest doubles prize money check in professional tennis.
WTA FINALS DOUBLES CHAMPION
$1,000,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$950,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$900,000 – if 1 round-robin win
WTA FINALS DOUBLES RUNNERS-UP
$525,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$475,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$425,000 – if 1 round-robin win
WTA FINALS DOUBLES SEMIFINALISTS
$315,000 – if undefeated (3 round-robin wins)
$265,000 – if 2 round-robin wins
$215,000 – if 1 round-robin win
The Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen will be played from October 27th to November 3rd.