Spain has traditionally been linked to the claycourt season, but the WTA is now making a big change by introducing a $250,000 grasscourt tournament at the Santa Ponsa Tennis Club in Calvia. Spanish world No.3 Garbina Muguruza attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the venue, which will be home to the inaugural Mallorca Open from June 11th to June 19th, 2016.
The tournament will have a 32-player field and will feature five open-air tennis courts and floodlights, allowing night play. Muguruza expressed her excitement at the prospect of another tournament on home soil, adding that she feels the event will help her get acclimated to the grass surface in time for Wimbledon. Expectations are high for Muguruza this year, as she reached the 2015 Wimbledon finals and would be the first Spanish woman to win there since Conchita Martinez defeated Martina Navratilova for the title in 1994.
In addition to serving as an ideal pre-Wimbledon International-level tournament, the Mallorca Open will attempt to increase sporting presence in the island of Mallorca, traditionally a popular vacation and tourist spot for Brits, Germans, and Scandinavians. Men’s tennis player Rafael Nadal is likely the most famous native Mallorcan athlete (his uncle Toni is tournament ambassador), but Serbian star Ana Ivanovic owns a villa on the island and frequently trains there in the off-season. In fact, she is also the second major name to commit to playing the Open, which should help bolster the level of competition. (photos: e | motion, Jimmie48)