The WTA announced on Monday that winners of the annual year-end tournament awards, with four categories to differentiate the different level of competition.
The players vote on these awards, with the winners receiving recognition due to the excellence of their staff and organization, the passion of their fans, and wider dedication to the sport and athletes.
In the WTA Premier Mandatory category, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells took the honors, while in the WTA Premier 5 level it was the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Both the WTA Premier category and the WTA International category had ties, with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart and the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy sharing the former award. Meanwhile, Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC (Acapulco) and ASB Classic Auckland were inseparable for the latter prize.
Here’s how the various tournaments reacted to news of their success.
Indian Wells (WTA Premier Mandatory winner):
Tommy Haas, Tournament Director, BNP Paribas Open: “We are truly grateful to the WTA players for voting us Tournament of the Year for the sixth straight year. This honor is a testament to the dedication of our entire staff here at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, who work tirelessly to ensure that the players are comfortable, happy and able to perform at their best during their time in the desert. We are humbled by this recognition and look forward to welcoming players and fans alike back to Tennis Paradise for another outstanding event in 2020.”
Dubai (WTA Premier 5 winner):
Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: “Thanks to the WTA players for giving the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships their vote as Premier 5 Tournament of the Year. As you can imagine, there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make this event a success and my thanks to everyone involved. Thanks in particular to Colm McLoughlin, our EVC & CEO for his ongoing support and to our COO Ramesh Cidambi for working with us to continually improve the tournament standards year to year and to Sinead El Sibai our Marketing & PR who works tirelessly for the players, officials, sponsors and tennis fans.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Dubai Duty Free: “We are thrilled that the WTA players have voted the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships as the WTA Premier 5 Tournament of the Year. February 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the WTA week in Dubai and over the past 20 years we have consistently aimed at upgrading and improving the tournament for the players, officials, sponsors and spectators.
“We were one of the first tournaments at our level to introduce equal prize money for the WTA players and we have remained committed to such equality.
“Our thanks to the WTA team and the players for recognizing the efforts made by Dubai Duty Free in organizing this world-class tournament. We look forward to welcoming the WTA Tour once more next February.”
Stuttgart (WTA Premier joint-winner):
Markus Guenthardt, Tournament Director, Porsche Tennis Grand Prix: “It’s nice that the players feel at home here and that they have rewarded our efforts with this honor. We see it as a big mark of their trust they place in us and simultaneously a spur to continue working to make the tournament better every year.”
St. Petersburg (WTA Premier joint-winner):
Natalia Kamelzon, Tournament Director, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy: "We are happy and very proud of this prestigious award, which we have received for the second time in a row. We are excited to be part of the WTA family and do such vibrant sporting events together. We are grateful to all players who appreciate our work! This will be a reason for us to be even better!"
Acapulco (WTA International joint-winner):
Raul Zurutuza, Tournament Director, Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC: “We at MEXTENIS are very happy and honored with the invaluable support of the WTA players and the WTA. This is a recognition by the WTA players to the effort of so many individuals that make an incredible job to make this tournament what we are now and we are thankful to them. It is an incredible way to celebrate 20 years with the WTA Players. Muchas gracias!!!!”
Auckland (WTA International joint-winner):
Karl Budge, Tournament and Commercial Director, ASB Classic: “We are very proud to have won this award and take great pride in celebrating and showcasing all that is great about our city, what summer means in Auckland and of course women’s tennis. To have the players recognize the effort our amazing team puts in, including our 220 volunteers who give up their Christmas holidays to make our event happen, is just reward for their passion and commitment. We would like to thank the WTA, the WTA players and most importantly our ASB Classic volunteer and management team for whom this award belongs to.”