Zhengzhou to build 8,000-seat stadium for new WTA event

A new 8,000-seat stadium will be built in Zhengzhou after the Chinese city was awarded hosting rights for a new WTA Premier tennis event.

The new tournament will take place in the week following the US Open grand slam tournament, offering prize money of $1m (£767,000/€875,000) in 2019 and $1.5m in 2020.

The 8,000-seat stadium will form part of a wide-ranging facility, which is scheduled to be completed for the 2020 tournament.

The Zhengzhou event will be operated by sports and entertainment organisation APG, Central Plains Tennis Centre and the China Open.

APG president Charles Hsiung said: “The Zhengzhou Open marks a huge milestone for the growth of tennis in the Asian region and particularly in China. APG’s great history and experience with tennis will allow us to showcase yet another premier event in the region. We also want to thank the WTA for trusting in APG and giving Zhengzhou, Henan, the opportunity to showcase itself to the world.”

Hsiung added: “Together with the Chinese Tennis Association, Henan Sport Bureau, Zhengzhou Municipal Government and Central Plain Tennis Centre, we are all committed to ensuring that the Zhengzhou Open will be held at the highest possible level at a world-class facility.”

The Women’s Tennis Association has also confirmed that two more tournaments will be added to the calendar in 2019. The Ladies Championship Lausanne will be staged in Switzerland in the week following Wimbledon, from July 15.

Additionally, the Baltic Open will be held in Jurmala, Latvia during the week from July 22. It will mark the first WTA event in Latvia. The two events will replace the Ladies Championships Gstaad and the Moscow River Cup, respectively.

The WTA has also announced that the Connecticut Open in New Haven will not take place this year after its financial model became unviable in the absence of a title sponsor. The WTA is looking at “several” opportunities for new events in the US for the week previously occupied by the Connecticut Open.

In other news, Tennis Australia has announced that Adelaide will next year host a new week-long event that will be co-sanctioned by the WTA and the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

The combined tournament will take place at the Memorial Drive tennis venue following an Aus$10m (£5.6m/€6.3m/$7.2m) commitment from the South Australia government.

Stage One of Memorial Drive’s redevelopment project will include a new woven fibreglass membrane fabric roof cover the existing stands and centre courts. Four refurbished, ITF-standard plexicushion match courts will also be fitted, along with new fencing and lighting. Improved access will also be provided between the centre and outside courts during tournaments.

The week-long tournament is subject to ATP and WTA approval. It is expected to attract more than 120 singles and doubles players and feature a minimum prize fund of Aus$2m.

Image: Mihnea Stanciu