November 23, 2008

WTA Roadmap 2009

Fans can get ready for a more exciting and streamlined season in 2009 with a revamped Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The "Roadmap 2009" has radically changed the current circuit structure, and with it will bring stronger rivalries on bigger stages. Top players will now face each other more often in newly designated "Premier" events, while huge investments give the Tour bigger and better venues with higher stakes in prize money.

Key elements of the Roadmap 2009 include:

Record prize money: For the 2009 season, the total prize money has gone up 40% to $86 million, and it will be equal at the four Grand Slams, four Premier cornerstone events (at Indian Wells, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, the Mutua MadrileƱa Madrid Open, and the China Open in Beijing), Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships and the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships – Doha 2009

Bigger matches and better rivalries: The new Premiere events will see the top players facing off against each other more often and in bigger venues, creating a new level of competition and unmissable match-ups more intense than have been seen in years

An easy-to-follow calendar: The new Roadmap, with its four Premier cornerstone events (at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing), more defined 'swings' in the Premier events, with the 26 Tier I/II events changed to 20 Premier events, and more combined back-to-back events, will make the Tour much easier to track and enjoy

A new ranking system: Best 16 results are more directly linked to the Tour's top events by awarding of "zero pointers" for any missed commitment tournament, Grand Slam or the Sony Ericsson Championships

Record investments: The 2009 season will see $710 million in stadium facility investments, and $84 million in year-end Sony Ericsson Championships deals in Doha 2008-2010 and Istanbul 2011-2013

Discussing the changes at the 2008 Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Larry Scott shared the Tour's commitment to the players' needs, and the ways the Tour has worked to streamline the Roadmap: "The 2009 Roadmap is designed around three core principles: A healthier calendar for the players, through a shorter season and longer off‑season; increased prize money, reflecting the global growth and demand for women's tennis; and a clearer presentation to the public, with the best athletes playing against each other more often."

-- article courtesy of Sony Ericsson WTA website

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