The WTA announced calendars for the two upcoming seasons and here I broke down all the changes to make it clear to all of us what the actual differences are. Before proceeding, I would sum everything up by saying that the efforts to grow in Asia are continuing, we have a new event in Rio de Janeiro, the WTA Championships are relocating, a few tournaments will be no more, we have additional 125K Series events and in 2015 we will have a longer grasscourt season. Let’s look at it in closer detail now.
EXPANSION IN ASIA
There will be a new Premier event in Li Na’s hometown of Wuhan and two new International events in Hong Kong and Tianjin. You know that the WTA’s long-term strategy is to plant the tennis seeds in the Asia-Pacific region and their efforts are further evidenced in the 2014 calendar which features 16 events in the region, five of which will be in China (notice that in 2012 China hosted only two WTA events).
BRAZIL GETS THE RIO OPEN
Rio de Janeiro will be the place to be in 2016 because of the Olympics and the WTA doesn’t want to miss the lucrative opportunity, so they created a claycourt WTA event in the city. With Florianopolis and Bogota already on the calendar, South America will have record three WTA events.
125K SERIES EVENTS
In 2012 WTA introduced smaller tournaments to help emerging markets and rising players and in 2014 there will be a total of six such events (in 2013 there were five and in 2012 there were two). In 2014 we will have: Raanana, Limoges, Nanchang, Suzhou, Ningbo and Chinese Taipei.
WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS MOVE TO SINGAPORE
The WTA Championships will relocate from Istanbul to Singapore, which will host the event for record five years between 2014 and 2018.
ISTANBUL BACK TO THE ISTANBUL CUP
Istanbul returns to hosting the International-level Istanbul Cup.
SWITCHES FROM INTERNATIONAL TO PREMIER
Birmingham will go from International to Premier status.
Acapulco and Katowice are switching from clay to hardcourts, so Stuttgart will be the only indoor tournament played on clay.
AND SOME TOURNAMENTS WILL DIE…
Carlsbad, Brussels and Palermo will no longer exist, while the Rio Open is replacing Memphis.
Changes for the 2015 season have been announced as well, and the major difference will be a longer grasscourt season, with an additional tournament in Nottingham. (source: WTA Tennis, photo: sr_cranks)