Cities in England, the Czech Republic, Russia and China have submitted bids to replace Singapore as host of the Women’s Tennis Association’s season-ending Finals event.
WTA chief executive Steve Simon said that the body has received bids from Manchester, Prague, St Petersburg and Shenzhen for hosting rights to the tournament, also adding that two other cities have declared an interest in staging the event but have not submitted bids.
Singapore’s five-year hosting rights deal with the WTA expires after the 2018 tournament. A decision on the host city from 2019 onward is expected to be made in April next year, with Singapore in contention to retain the rights.
“We have said all along that we’d be very interested in discussing an extension,” Simon said, according to Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times. “We had an agreement that we would sit down following this event when they saw the results of this event and have a conversation about 2019 and the future, and I’m looking forward to those conversations.”
WTA president Micky Lawler added: “Singapore offers a lot of what we are looking for to continue – (it) is a global capital, cosmopolitan, very international. The event has become better and better each year, the audience in Singapore is very demanding and used to big and great premium events. Formula One can attest to that.”
Manchester declared an interest in staging the WTA Finals back in April. England already stages the Association of Tennis Professional’s (ATP) World Tour Finals, the men’s equivalent of the WTA Finals, with London’s O2 Arena having hosted the event since 2009.
This year’s WTA Finals event is currently ongoing in Singapore and concludes on Sunday. Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova is the defending champion, having defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber in last year’s final.
Singapore has staged the WTA Finals since 2014, with the event having been held in a number of cities since the turn of the century, including Istanbul, Doha, Madrid, Los Angeles and Munich. Until 2001, the tournament had only taken place in the US, with New York hosting from 1979 to 2000.