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Women's Tennis Association
WTA
90
Sport Professional tennis
Formation date 1973
Chairman Stacey Allaster
Chief Exec Stacey Allaster
Official website
www.sonyericssonwtatour.com

The Women's Tennis Association, formed in 1973, is the principal organizing body of women's professional tennis. It organizes the WTA Tour, the worldwide professional tennis tour for women, which has for sponsorship reasons been known since 2005 as The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Its counterpart organization in the men's professional game is the Association of Tennis Professionals.

The Women's Tennis Association can trace its origins back to Houston, Texas when the inaugural Virginia Slims event was won on 23 September 1970. Billie Jean King was a major figure in the early days of the WTA. The WTA's corporate headquarters is in St. Petersburg, Florida. The European headquarters is in London, and the Asia-Pacific headquarters is in Beijing.

Contents

History

The predecessor of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit, was formed in September 1970, after nine tennis players, led by Billie Jean King, signed $1 contracts with Gladys Heldman of World Tennis publications. The other eight players who pledged to compete were Rosemary Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville Reid, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Tegart Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Julie Heldman. Gladys Heldman, and a team that included associates of hers such as Joe Cullman, helped provide the foundation for the first women's professional tennis circuit. The Philip Morris cigarette brand Virginia Slims provided financial backing, and on 23 September 1970, the inaugural Virginia Slims of Houston was held, paving the way for many others of its kind. The circuit was composed of 19 tournaments, all based in the United States (one in Puerto Rico),[1] and prize money totalled $309,100.[2]

Formation of the Virginia Slims Circuit resulted in part from changes that tennis was undergoing at the time and from the way prize moneys were distributed. During the first two years of the open era, a large number of male players began playing professionally, and the tournaments in which they competed, often men's and women's combined events, attracted increased investment. The International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) began dropping several women's competitions from the tournaments it presided over. For example, in 1970, the ILTF sanctioned 15 men-only tournaments, all of which had previously been combined events.[3]

The WTA attributes a large part of its development to a meeting held the week before the 1973 Wimbledon Championships. The meeting, held at Gloucester Hotel in London, united all of women's professional tennis in one tour. In 1975, the WTA increased its financial stature by signing a television broadcast contract with CBS, the first in the WTA's history. Further financial developments ensued. In 1976, Colgate assumed sponsorship of the WTA Tour from April to November. In 1979, Avon replaced Virginia Slims as the sponsor of the winter circuit, and in its first year offered the largest prize fund for a single tournament, $100,000 for the Avon Championships, in the WTA Tour's history.[2] The Colgate Series, renamed the Toyota Series in 1981, included tournaments from the across the world, whereas the Avon sponsored events took place solely in the U.S. The two circuits merged beginning with the 1983 season, when Virginia Slims returned to take full sponsorship rights of the WTA Tour. Every tournament under the administration of the WTA now became part of the Virginia Slims World Championships Series.[1][2]

The WTA Tour continued to expand during these years. By 1980, over 250 women were playing professionally, and the tour consisted of 47 global events, offering a total of $7.2 million in prize money. These increased financial opportunities allowed for groundbreaking developments not only in tennis, but across women's sports. In 1971, King became the first female athlete to surpass $100,000 in earnings for a single year.[1][4] Chris Evert became the female athlete to win over $1,000,000 in career earnings in 1976. And Martina Navratilova became the first to win over $1,000,000 in a single year in 1982. Navratilova's single year earnings exceeded $2 million in 1984. In 1997, Martina Hingis became the first to earn over $3 million during a single year. In 2003, Kim Clijsters surpassed $4 million in earnings for a single year. In 2006, the WTA and players such as Venus Williams pushed for equal prize money to men at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Both of these Grand Slam events relented in 2007 and awarded equal money for the first time. This enabled Justine Henin, who won the French Open in 2007, to earn over $5 million that year, becoming the first woman in sports to do this.[5]

Larry Scott became Chairman and CEO of the WTA on April 16, 2003.[6] While at the WTA, Scott put together the largest sponsorship in the history of women's athletics, a six-year, $88-million sponsorship deal with Sony Ericsson.[6][7][8] On March 24, 2009, Scott announced that he was resigning as WTA chief in order to take up a new position as the Commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference on July 1, 2009.[7][8][9] On July 13, 2009, WTA Tour announced the appointment of Stacey Allaster, the Tour's President since 2006, as the new Chairman and CEO of the WTA.[10]

Tournament categories

The current tournament structure was introduced in 2009. Premier Tournaments replaced the previous Tier I and Tier II events, and International Tournaments replaced Tier III and IV events.

  1. Grand Slam tournaments (4)
  2. Year-ending championships (Sony Ericsson Championships).
  3. Premier tournaments:
    1. Premier Mandatory: Four combined tournaments with male professional players, with U.S.$4.5 million in equal prize money for men and women. These tournaments are being held in Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, Madrid, and Beijing.
    2. Premier Five: Five $2 million events in Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto / Montreal, and Tokyo
    3. Premier: Ten events with prize money from U.S.$600,000 to U.S.$1 million.
  4. International tournaments: There are 31 tournaments, with a prize money for every event at U.S.$220,000, except for the year-ending Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, which has prize money of U.S.$600,000.

Ranking points are also available at tournaments on the ITF Women's Circuit organised by the International Tennis Federation, which is comprised of several hundred tournaments each year with prize funds ranging from U.S. $10,000 to U.S. $100,000, and at the Olympic Games.

Ranking

Description W F SF QF R16 R32 R64 R128 QLFR Q3 Q2 Q1
Grand Slam (S) 2000 1400 900 500 280 160 100 5 60 50 40 2
Grand Slam (D) 2000 1400 900 500 280 160 5 - 48 - - -
WTA Tour Championships (S) +450 +360 (230 for each round robin match won
70 for each round robin match lost)
- - -
WTA Tour Championships (D) 1500 1050 690 - - - - - - - - -
Premier Mandatory (96S) 1000 700 450 250 140 80 50 5 30 - 20 1
Premier Mandatory (64S) 1000 700 450 250 140 80 5 - 30 - 20 1
Premier Mandatory (28/32D) 1000 700 450 250 140 5 - - - - - -
Premier 5 (56S) 900 620 395 225 125 70 1 - 30 - 20 1
Premier 5 (28D) 900 620 395 225 125 1 - - - - - -
Premier (56S) 470 320 200 120 60 40 1 - 12 - 8 1
Premier (32S) 470 320 200 120 60 1 - - 20 12 8 1
Premier (16D) 470 320 200 120 1 - - - - - - -
Commonwealth Bank
Tournament of Champions
+180 +170 (70 points for each players competing
90 for each round robin match won)
- - -
International (56S) 280 200 130 70 30 15 1 - 10 - 6 1
International (32S) 280 200 130 70 30 1 - - 16 10 6 1
International (16D) 280 200 130 70 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $100,000 + H(32) 150 110 80 40 20 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $100,000 + H(16) 150 110 80 40 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $100,000 (32) 140 100 70 36 18 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $100,000 (16) 140 100 70 36 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $75,000 + H(32) 130 90 58 32 16 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $75,000 + H(16) 130 90 58 32 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $75,000 (32) 110 78 50 30 14 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $75,000 (16) 110 78 50 30 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $50,000 + H(32) 90 64 40 24 12 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $50,000 + H(16) 90 64 40 24 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $50,000 (32) 70 50 32 18 10 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $50,000 (16) 70 50 32 18 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $25,000 (32) 50 34 24 14 8 1 - - 1 - - -
ITF $25,000 (16) 50 34 24 14 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $10,000 (32) 12 8 6 4 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $10,000 (16) 12 8 6 1 0 - - - - - - -

"+H" indicates that Hospitality is provided.

Current WTA Rankings

These lists are based on the WTA Rankings.[11][12]

WTA Singles Rankings (January 18, 2010)
Rk Name Nation Points +/-
1 Serena Williams  USA 9,195
2 Dinara Safina  RUS 7,600
3 Svetlana Kuznetsova  RUS 6,081
4 Caroline Wozniacki  DEN 5,875
5 Elena Dementieva  RUS 5,505
6 Venus Williams  USA 5,126
7 Victoria Azarenka  BLR 4,740
8 Jelena Janković  SRB 3,965
9 Vera Zvonareva  RUS 3,560
10 Agnieszka Radwańska  POL 3,450
11 Marion Bartoli  FRA 3,325
12 Flavia Pennetta  ITA 3,220
13 Samantha Stosur  AUS 3,045
14 Maria Sharapova  RUS 2,820
15 Kim Clijsters  BEL 2,620
16 Yanina Wickmayer  BEL 2,605
17 Li Na  CHN 2,600
18 Francesca Schiavone  ITA 2,445
19 Nadia Petrova  RUS 2,220 1
20 Virginie Razzano  FRA 2,200 1
WTA Doubles Rankings (January 18, 2010)
Rk Name Nation Points +/-
1 Cara Black  ZIM 8,640 =
= Liezel Huber  USA 8,640 =
3 Serena Williams  USA 7,440 =
= Venus Williams  USA 7,440 =
5 Nuria Llagostera Vives  ESP 6,180 =
= Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez  ESP 6,180 =
7 Samantha Stosur  AUS 5,610 =
= Rennae Stubbs  AUS 5,610 =
9 Virginia Ruano Pascual  ESP 4,735 1
10 Anabel Medina Garrigues  ESP 4,665 1
11 Su-Wei Hsieh  TPE 4,390 2
12 Shuai Peng  CHN 4,210 =
13 Alisa Kleybanova  RUS 4,150 =
14 Daniela Hantuchova  SVK 4,055 =
15 Victoria Azarenka  BLR 3,767 =
16 Nadia Petrova  RUS 3,915 =
17 Bethanie Mattek-Sands  USA 3,620 =
18 Francesca Schiavone  ITA 3,610 =
19 Lisa Raymond  USA 3,560 =
20 Ekaterina Makarova  RUS 3,510 =

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "WTA Tour history". Women's Tennis Association (WTA). http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/global/includes/TrackIt.asp?file=http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/global/pdfs/events/2008/tournamentfinals.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  2. ^ a b c "The Tour Story". Women's Tennis Association (WTA). http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/thewtatour/stories/tourstory.asp. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  3. ^ Joanne Lannin. "Fighting for Equality". Billie Jean King: Tennis Trailblazer. Lerner Publications. p. 57. ISBN 082254959X. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=f957-IG2HckC&printsec=frontcover&dq=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0#PPA57,M1. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  4. ^ "Billie Jean King: Founder, Leader, Legend". Women's Sports Foundation. http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/Content/Articles/About%20WSF/B/Billie%20Jean%20King%20Founder%20Leader%20Legend.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  5. ^ "Davenport Tops All-Time Prize Money List". Women's Tennis Association (WTA). 2007-01-14. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1971. Retrieved 2008-09-12.  
  6. ^ a b "Management Bios: Larry Scott - Chairman & CEO". Women's Tennis Association. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/thewtatour/managementbios/larryscott/. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  7. ^ a b "Larry Scott to head Pac-10 Conference". Los Angeles Times. 2009-03-25. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-pac-ten-commissioner25-2009mar25,0,4982011.story. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  8. ^ a b Condotta, Bob (2009-03-24). "Larry Scott named Pac-10 commissioner". The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sports/2008918038_pac25.html. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  9. ^ "Scott leaves WTA role to be Pac-10 commish". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 2009-03-25. http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/mar/25/1s25digest232920/?zIndex=72162. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  10. ^ "Allaster Is New Chairman and CEO". Women's Tennis Association. 2009-07-13. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/LatestNews/Read/0,,12781~1720996,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-13.  
  11. ^ "Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings:Singles". Women's Tennis Association. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/RankingsSingles/0,,12781~0~1~100,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16.  
  12. ^ "Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings:Doubles". Women's Tennis Association. http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/RankDoubles/0,,12781,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16.  

External links








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