The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour announced today its calendar for the 2011 season, featuring 52 tournaments and four Grand Slams in 32 countries. The international breadth of tournaments includes 23 events in Europe, 15 in the Americas and 18 in Asia. 2011 also marks the first of three consecutive years of the year-end WTA Tour Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. The Ladies Qatar Open returns to the calendar in 2011 as a Premier tournament during the week of February 21st, marking the 11th year of Doha hosting a women’s tennis event.
The 2011 calendar features 20 Combined ATP/WTA events including the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome) and the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open (Cincinnati), which will make their debut as combined tournaments. The Rogers Cup (Canada) will host a virtually combined tournament during which fans will be able to watch live both women’s tennis in Toronto and men’s tennis in Montreal. A new tournament in Washington, D.C. joins a list of 20 combined events which includes Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Madrid, Beijing, Cincinnati, Sydney, Canada, Moscow, Eastbourne, New Haven, Brisbane, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Estoril, Memphis, and Acapulco, along with the four Grand Slams. Five back-to-back men’s/womens events are in Dubai, Tokyo, Auckland, Washington, D.C. and Bastad.
“Women’s professional tennis is a truly global sports and entertainment property,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “We are excited to bring our year-end WTA Tour Championships to the world-class city of Istanbul and thrilled that fans of the sport will be able to see more major combined events than ever before.”
With the Roadmap reforms implemented during the 2009 season, women’s tennis fans have had the opportunity to watch more stars and rivalries on the game’s biggest stages, and follow a shortened and streamlined season that has been successful in unlocking the full value of the sport. To date in 2010, the Roadmap has resulted in a 43% decrease in player withdrawals and an increase of 46% in top player participation at the Tour’s Top nine premier events.
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