Singapore gets WTA Championships for five years

Singapore has been awarded the year-end WTA Championships for five years, starting next year.

Under terms of a record-setting five-year agreement, the top-8 singles players and, for the first time, the top-8 doubles teams will compete for a share of a record prize money purse of $6.5 million. The announcement follows an extensive global search and bidding process conducted by the WTA that elicited 43 expressions of interest from international cities that was narrowed down to three finalists -- Tianjin, China; Monterrey, Mexico; and Singapore.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce that the sensational city of Singapore has won the right to host the WTA Championships, the WTA's crown jewel season finale, for the next five years from 2014 to 2018," said Stacey Allaster, chairman and CEO of the WTA, at Wednesday's announcement. "This is the largest and most significant WTA Championships partnership in our history. It's a record-breaker.

"Singapore is exciting. It's state of the art and we love the people. I am very much looking forward to the WTA Championships in Singapore in 2014," she added.

The state-of-the-art $1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub will host the Championships at the 7,500-seat Singapore Indoor Stadium.

With the addition of Singapore, 23 WTA events will be staged in the Asia- Pacific market in 2014, marking the first time in WTA history that there will be more tournaments in APAC than any other region in the world.

"It's incredibly exciting to have our WTA Championships heading to Singapore, which is a fantastic sporting city," said former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova. "Women's tennis is truly international, and bringing our very best event to fantastic new markets like Singapore is great way to continue to grow the sport. I can't wait to help introduce the fans of Singapore to the year-end WTA Championships."

Singapore will become the ninth different city to host the WTA Championships, joining Boca Raton (1972-1973), Los Angeles (1974-1976, 2002-2005), Oakland (1978), New York City (1977, 1979-2000), Munich (2001), Madrid (2006-2007), Doha (2008-2010) and currently Istanbul (2011-2013).

There have been 18 different winners in the event's history, with champions from 10 different nations, including Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Sharapova and Serena Williams.

"Singapore is a wonderful city and I am really looking forward to playing our season finale in this exciting new market for women's tennis," Williams said. "I've been fortunate to qualify for WTA Championships in five different cities during my career, and I know that our new partners in Singapore and the fans of Singapore will help make take our WTA Championships to new heights."