WTA Finals serves up new schedule & format

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova (right) hits a volley on a makeshift beach outside the Singapore Sports Hub. Her doubles partner yesterday was national junior player Ashley Yim.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova (right) hits a volley on a makeshift beach outside the Singapore Sports Hub. Her doubles partner yesterday was national junior player Ashley Yim.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Organisers of the October 21-30 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global are introducing changes to the format and line-up of matches in a bid to keep things interesting for tennis fans.

The first four days of competition (Oct 23-26) will now only feature singles matches, allowing spectators the opportunity to catch the entire slate of eight players over two match sessions.

The doubles competition, commencing on Oct 27, will adopt a knockout format.

Women's Tennis Association vice-president (Asia Pacific) Melissa Pine said the changes were made to make the season-ender, considered the crown jewel of the WTA calendar, more fan-friendly.

She said: "Our strategy is to focus on what fans want, being fan-friendly at all our events. This is a compact schedule which we really feel is one that fans will enjoy.

"The knockout format will allow us to see very intense matches because it's do or die," added Pine, who is also the event's tournament director.

  • BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global

  • Where: Singapore Sports Hub
    When: Oct 21-30
    Who: Top eight singles players and doubles pairs of WTA season

  • TICKET SALES

    PHASE 1

    • Family Day package (two adults, two children under 16): From $65.80

    • All singles evening pass: From $59.20

    • Pick 3 combo pass (any three sessions in same category from session 1-8): From $60

    • Full-day pass: From $44.80

    • Season pass: From $717.10

    From today: OCBC card members and StarHub customers
    From May 6: Public

    PHASE 2

    • Season pass: From $717.10

    • Concession: From $16.10

    • Single session: From $16.90

    From June 30: OCBC card members
    From July 8: StarHub customers
    From July 15: Public

The US$7 million (S$9.41 million) WTA Finals will feature the season's best-performing eight singles players and the top eight doubles players. World No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska won last year's edition, the second of five that will be staged in Singapore.

Organisers are also going on the charm offensive to woo families to an event that has built a reputation around being a sport and entertainment extravaganza, rather than just a tennis-only tournament.

The first Sunday of the event, Oct 23, will be Family Day, with live entertainment and fan participation activities on and off the court. A specially priced Family Day ticket package - a bundle featuring 50 per cent savings - will be made available.

Said Sarah Clements, vice-president of tennis (Asia) at event promoter Lagardere Sports: "Reaching out to our fans and finding what they want is incredibly important to us. This year we've worked really hard to create and enriched content programme."

Pre-sale for tickets will begin today, with public sales starting on May 6.

May Chen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2016, with the headline 'WTA Finals serves up new schedule & format'. Print Edition | Subscribe