ZHUHAI, China - To celebrate the start of its 200 days countdown to the start of the tournament, the WTA Elite Trophy has announced that Chinese hero Li Na will be its Tournament Ambassador.
The WTA Elite Trophy, which will take place the week of November 2 later this year, is a $2.15-million singles and doubles tournament that will be staged in the beautiful city of Zhuhai from 2015 to 2019.
"I am very much looking forward to my role as ambassador for the new WTA Elite Trophy, which is tailored made for the beautiful city of Zhuhai," Li said of Thursday's announcement. "The event will feature the most talented players in the world, and the new venue on Hengqin Island will be a fantastic place for the players to play. I am sure they will enjoy the beautiful and romantic city of Zhuhai!"
The tournament will be held at the custom-designed, state-of-the-art tennis center in Zhuhai and will feature a 12-player singles field consisting of the players ranked No.9 through No.19, along with a wildcard, in a four group round robin format, with the winners of each group advancing to the semis.
Six doubles teams will compete in two round robin groups, with the top two teams reaching the final.
"It is with great excitement we announce the appointment of Li Na as Tournament Ambassador," Tournament Director Peter Johnston said of the news. "Li Na has been an incredible champion throughout her career and she has represented her country magnificently on and off the court. Now as she transitions to the next phase of her career, we are so fortunate to have her part of our event.
"Li Na recognized the quality of the event and also the dramatic growth of the city of Zhuhai and its plans for the future and that is why she has welcomed the opportunity to become part of our event."
"We are thrilled to have the great Li Na serve as a Tournament Ambassador at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai," Micky Lawler, WTA President, said of the announcement. "She has inspired so many young girls around the globe and we will feel the impact of her contributions for many decades to come.
"Though we are sad that she is no longer playing competitively, the WTA is excited that she has committed to play a big role in tennis and contribute to the growth of our sport in China, throughout Asia and around the world," Lawler continued. "I know that Li Na is looking forward to welcoming fans to the beautiful city of Zhuhai and showing off the sterling new facilities to the players."
"We are looking forward to hosting this event in the spectacular city of Zhuhai," Zhuhai Vice Mayor Lydia Long said. "It promises to be an amazing player field with Top 20 players competing head-to-head in every match. It will be an event full of excitement and innovation. On behalf of Zhuhai's 1.5 million hospitable citizens, I would like to extend our sincere invitation to the best women players, the press, and friends from all over the world. Beautiful and romantic Zhuhai awaits your visits."
The city of Zhuhai is located on the southern coast of China close to Hong Kong and Macau, and last year it was even named China's most livable city by the Chinese Academy of Social Services.