ZUG, Switzerland - Octagon and InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland are bringing the WTA tour to Biel/Bienne, with a new indoor tournament to be staged in April each year starting in 2017.
The International event will take place at a new indoor arena - to be completed in February 2017 - following the conclusion of the Sunshine Swing in Indian Wells and Miami. Its draw will feature 32 players for the singles competition and a draw of 16 for doubles.
"Swiss tennis is enjoying an exceptional era and we're delighted the beautiful town of Biel will be part of the WTA calendar in 2017," says WTA CEO Steve Simon. "We invite our fans to be part of the excitement and enjoy outstanding world-class tennis in Biel."
Octagon, the global sports and entertainment marketing and talent management powerhouse, has extensive women's tennis experience in Switzerland. In addition to having staged a premier WTA tournament for 25 years in Zurich, and other WTA competitions in Lucerne and Geneva, Octagon also represents Martina Hingis and Belinda Bencic.
"We are very pleased that such a broad group of exceptional interests have aligned to create this new tournament," announced Philip D. M. de Picciotto, the Founder and President of Octagon.? "The marketing and media excellence of InfrontRingier, the esteemed status of Swiss Tennis, the world class talent of the Swiss players and the WTA's global leadership position in professional sport for women have enabled a mere idea to become a reality."
"I am really looking forward to having a WTA tournament back in Switzerland," says Hingis, the reigning doubles co-No.1. "I have fond memories of my first WTA tournament in Zurich and I am excited that Octagon has been able to work with Swiss Tennis and InfrontRingier to bring an International event to Biel. Switzerland has a great tennis history and having such an event in my home country will help to build on that. Being able to play in front of your home fans is a special experience and I plan to be involved as much as possible to help make the tournament a success for the Swiss tennis fans."
Bencic added: "It is a unique experience and great honor for me to be part of the WTA Tour's return to Switzerland. Having a tournament in my home country gives me the opportunity to give something back to the tennis fans in Switzerland. I know from my own experience that being able to watch the world's best players in person can be inspiring. I really look forward to playing in front of the Swiss audience and will hopefully be able to contribute to the growth of the sport there."
Lukas Troxler, Deputy Managing Director of InfrontRingier and designated Tournament Director, commented: "We are more than proud to partner with Octagon to bring the WTA Tour to the country, especially at this time, as Swiss women's tennis is experiencing tremendous international success and a huge upward trend. Tennis fans in Switzerland are eager and enthusiastic to support their players and it is exciting for the country to once again become a world stage for tennis. We would like to extend our thanks also to Swiss Tennis for its support and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration."