ZHUHAI, China - The WTA Elite Trophy, a brand new singles and doubles event offering $2.15 million in prize money, will be staged in Zhuhai in southern China for the next five years from 2015 to 2019.
The 12-player singles field in Zhuhai will consist of players ranked No.9 through No.20 in the world, along with one wildcard, in a four-group round robin format. The winners of each respective group will advance to the single elimination semifinal stage of the event. Meanwhile, six doubles teams will compete in a two-group round robin format, with the winner of each group advancing to the final.
The WTA Elite Trophy will take place at the custom-designed, state-of-the-art tennis center in Zhuhai, and it will be played the week after the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
"This brand new event combining great players, a fantastic new stadium and the magnificent location of Zhuhai is a formula that will make the WTA Elite Trophy a success," WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster commented. "Thanks to the commitment and vision of the Zhuhai government, Huafa Group and Ace Pro Group - APG, the fan experience will be exciting and inspirational, and we will showcase women's tennis and this beautiful city to a global audience through broadcast, digital and social media."
"Zhuhai is honored to host the WTA Elite Trophy starting in 2015," Zhuhai Vice Mayor Lydia Long said of Wednesday's announcement. "We are deeply grateful for WTA's trust and support in making Zhuhai's dream of joining the WTA family a reality. The people of Zhuhai will warmly welcome the best women tennis players and tourists from around the world to this beautiful, romantic and dynamic city. Come and experience the well-equipped facilities, excellent service and the elegance of Zhuhai."
"We are looking forward to directing this event in the spectacular city of Zhuhai," said Peter Johnston, who is currently the WTA's Managing Director of Asia Pacific, but who has been appointed by APG to assume the role of Tournament Director for the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai starting next year. "It promises to be an amazing player field featuring established WTA superstars and WTA Rising Stars."
Zhuhai is located on the southern coast of China close to Hong Kong and Macau, and last year was named "China's most livable city" by the Chinese Academy of Social Services. The addition of the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai aligns with the WTA's strategic growth and development within the Asia-Pacific region. After opening a Beijing office in 2008, a close partnership with the Chinese government and Tennis Federations has allowed for the sport of tennis to thrive in the area with increased fan following and corporate sponsorship. In 2014, 17 WTA tournaments took place in the Asia-Pacific region.
The event in Zhuhai will replace the Tournament Of Champions on the 2015 WTA calendar.