Emphasis on hospitality while King holds court

VIDEO: LAGARDERE SPORTS
Ian Pryor, managing partner at IPP Financial Advisers, a returning customer of the Racquet Club - the WTA Finals hospitality programme - looking on as Billie Jean King signs tennis balls for guests on Thursday. They were at Marina Bay Sands where eve
Ian Pryor, managing partner at IPP Financial Advisers, a returning customer of the Racquet Club - the WTA Finals hospitality programme - looking on as Billie Jean King signs tennis balls for guests on Thursday. They were at Marina Bay Sands where event organiser and promoter Lagardere Sports launched hospitality sales for the final edition of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore.PHOTO: LAGARDERE SPORTS

Billie Jean King, a legend of women's tennis, was "down to earth, easy to speak to and approachable" but that did not stop tennis fan Ian Pryor from being star-struck.

The 35-year-old met the founder of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and 12-time Grand Slam winner at Thursday's launch of the hospitality sales for the final edition of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Pryor, managing director for IPP Financial Advisers, recalled: "She gave me a few minutes of her time and signed a few tennis balls. One was for my parents, who are very big fans of hers.

"We will auction off the others at our events later this year in support of the charities that we support.

"I told her that she is a great inspiration. She was very kind to sign the balls for the charities and even took an interest in them and asked what the charities do."

Pryor was among 140 guests gathered at the Marina Bay Sands. They were either returning or prospective customers of the Racquet Club, the WTA Finals hospitality programme.

The British citizen and Singapore PR has attended the Finals several times but took up the Racquet Club package for the first time last year and plans to return this year and bring his parents.

He said: "From a client hospitality perspective it was excellent; we invited a number of our clients and their families, they had a very good time. We also invited a number of prospective clients and I am very pleased to say they are happy clients themselves."

A fund-raising initiative was also launched on Thursday. It is part of Advantage Singapore: The Final Serve, a programme dedicated to community engagement efforts.

In the lead-up the Oct 21-28 Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a series of charity activities will be held in support of SportCares. Lagardere Sports will also donate $10 from the sale of every Racquet Club pass.

There will be a silent auction for autographed rackets - including King's - during the Finals.

•Information on the Racquet Club: wtafinals.com/hospitality

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2018, with the headline 'Emphasis on hospitality while King holds court'. Print Edition | Subscribe