ISTANBUL, Turkey - The WTA and sports management group Octagon have announced a partnership to create a first-class tennis experience in Istanbul. 

WTA tennis will come back to the Turkish city this spring from April 20-26 in the form of an International-level event at the Turkish Tennis Federation Tennis Center.

Following a comprehensive and state-of-the-art renovation of the venue, which includes all-new clay courts and tournament infrastructure, the new WTA tournament will be the first professional tennis event held at the historic club since its renovation.

"We are delighted to announce the organization of a new WTA international tournament in Istanbul, and look forward to welcoming players and fans to the Turkish Tennis Federation Tennis Center," said Turkish Tennis Federation president, Cengiz Durmus.

"The WTA and Octagon play an important role in the path of making Turkey a true tennis country. With the support of the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports, we are taking strong steps towards achieving our goals."

Istanbul has played its part on the WTA calendar for the better part of the past 15 years, including serving as the host for the season-ending championships from 2011-13, now known as the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and held in China. 

The city first debuted on tour as a clay court tournament in 2005, with that event won by Venus Williams in its inaugural year. The playing surface switched to hard courts from 2009-15, and returned to clay in 2016, when Cagla Buyukakcay made history for the country by becoming the first Turkish woman to win a WTA singles title.

"Istanbul has been home to many WTA events and we are pleased to continue the tradition of hosting the world’s best tennis players in Istanbul as we embark on an exciting new season," added WTA CEO Steve Simon.

"We look forward to working with the Turkish Tennis Federation and Octagon on building a very special WTA tournament in Istanbul."

Croatia's Petra Martic lifted last year's trophy, defeating Marketa Vondrousova in three sets, while Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic were crowned doubles champions.

"Istanbul is a vibrant city, with a rich tennis heritage," said Alastair Garland, vice president of Octagon Tennis, "and we look forward to building on that history to continue to develop the sport of tennis in Turkey."

Octagon's investment in the International-level event is the latest in a series of steps by the agency to develop professional tennis across the world.

The Oracle Challenger Series was launched in late 2017 in support of the development of American tennis, with WTA 125 Series events in Newport Beach, Indian Wells and New Haven among those on the calendar.

"I am honored and excited to serve as the tournament director for this incredible new international tournament in Istanbul," said tournament director Mirac Namli.

"Our aim will be to make all the players feel at home, help them have a great experience, and a good time in Istanbul."

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