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WTA Tour

Women's Tennis Association
WTA
100px
Sport Professional tennis
Founded 1973
Location St. Petersburg
Chairman Stacey Allaster
Chief Exec Stacey Allaster
Official website

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA), founded in 1973 by Billie Jean King, is the principal organizing body of women's professional tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women. Its counterpart organization in the men's professional game is the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

The Women's Tennis Association was founded in the month of June 1973, but can trace its origins back to Houston, Texas with the inaugural Virginia Slims tournament, arranged by Gladys Heldman, and held on 23 September 1970. Rosie Casals won this first event. The WTA's corporate headquarters is in St. Petersburg, Florida. The European headquarters is in London, and the Asia-Pacific headquarters is in Beijing.

History

The Open Era, allowing professional players to compete alongside amateurs, began in 1968. The first open tournament was the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth. At the first Open Wimbledon the prize fund difference was 2.5:1 in favour of men. Billie Jean King won £750 for taking the title while Rod Laver won £2,000. The total purses of both competitions were £14,800 for men and £5,680 for women. Confusion also reigned as no one knew how many open tournaments there were supposed to be. The tournaments that did not want to provide prize money eventually faded out of the calendar, including the U.S. Eastern Grass Court circuit with stops at Merion Cricket Club and Essex county club.

There were two professional tennis circuits in existence at the start of the Open Era: World Championship Tennis (WCT), which was for men only, and the National Tennis League (NTL). Ann Jones, Rosie Casals, Francoise Durr, and Billie Jean King joined NTL. King was paid $40,000 a year, Jones was paid $25,000, and Casals and Durr were paid $20,000 each. The group played established tournaments such as the US Open and Wimbledon. But the group also organised their own tournaments, playing in the south of France for two months. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) then imposed several sanctions on the group: the women were not allowed to play in the Wightman Cup in 1968 and 1969 and the USTLA refused to include Casals and King in their rankings for these years.

By the 1970s the pay differential had increased. As King states, “Promoters were making more money. Male tennis players were making more money. Everybody was making more money except the women”. In 1969, ratios of 5:1 in terms of pay between men and women were common at smaller tournaments. By 1970 these figures ballooned to 8:1 and even 12:1.

In 1970 Margaret Court won the Grand Slam and received only a $15,000 bonus, whereas the men could achieve up to $1 million. The low point in women’s pay inequality came before the US Open in 1970. The Pacific Southwest Championships directed by Jack Kramer, had announced a 12:1 ratio in the prize money difference between what males and females would win. The tournament would not take place until after the US Open. Several female players contacted Gladys Heldman, publisher of World Tennis Magazine, and stated that they wanted to boycott the event. While she advised against it, she then created the 1970 Houston Women's Invitation for nine women players.

The original nine women from the Houston event, along with Heldman, then created their own tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit, which would later absorb the ILTF's Women's Grand Prix circuit, and eventually become the WTA Tour. 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 was founded at a meeting organized by Billie Jean King, a week before the 1973 Wimbledon Championships. This meeting, held at Gloucester Hotel in London. 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 circuit 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 tennis 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]

Growth milestones

The WTA circuit continued to expand during these years. 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. By 1980, over 250 women were playing professionally, and the circuit 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 1982, Martina Navratilova became the first to win over $1,000,000 in a single year. 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, Venus Williams and the WTA pushed for equal prize money 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] In 2009, Serena Williams went over the six million mark by earning over $6.5 million in a single year. Then in 2012 both Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka became first players to exceed $7 million in prize money in a single season.

Management

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 sports, 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, now the Pacific-12 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 (WTA Tour 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, Miami, 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 prize money for every event at U.S.$235,000, except for the year-ending Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, originally held in Bali but now in Sofia, which will have prize money of U.S.$750,000 in 2013.
  5. WTA 125k Series (since 2012): There are 3 tournaments, with prize money for every event at U.S. $125,000.

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

Players’ Council

The Players' Council is a group or sub-committee under the WTA board of directors, consisting of 8 selected players on the tour that advocate player interest, handles grievances, changes in the tennis schedule and other concerns.

2013 Players’ Council[11]

Ranking method

The WTA rankings are based on a rolling 52-week, cumulative system. A player's ranking is determined by her results at a maximum of 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles and points are awarded based on how far a player advances in a tournament. The basis for calculating a player's ranking are those tournaments that yield the highest ranking points during the rolling 52-week period with the condition that they must include points from the Grand Slams, Premier Mandatory tournaments and the WTA Championships. In addition, for Top 20 players, their best two results at Premier 5 tournaments will also count.[12]

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 - - - - - -
Olympics 685 470 340 (bronze)
260 (4th)
175 95 55 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 - - - - - - -
Tournament of Champions +195 +75 (60 for each win, 25 for each loss)
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 - - - - - - -
Challenger $125,000 (32S) 160 117 85 44 22 1 - - 6 4 1 -
Challenger $125,000 (16D) 160 117 85 44 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.

WTA Rankings

Main article: WTA Rankings

These lists are based on the WTA Rankings.[13][14]

Global Advisory Council members

The Global Advisory Council of international business leaders has sixteen members as of September 2013.[17]

  • Darcy Antonellis, President, Technical Operations Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • Sir Richard Branson, Chairman & Founder, Virgin Group, Ltd.
  • Christa Carone, Chief marketing officer, Xerox Corporation
  • Claude de Jouvencel, Member, Supervisory Council of Groupe Marnier-Lapostolle (Grand Marnier), Chairman, Wine & Spirits Association of France (FEVS)
  • Karen Elliott House, Former Publisher, Wall Street Journal
  • Billie Jean King, Co-Founder, World TeamTennis, Founder, WTA Tour
  • Bessie Lee, Chief Executive Officer, GroupM China
  • Winston Lord, Chairman Emeritus, International Rescue Committee, Former US Ambassador to China
  • Jay Lorsch, Louis E. Kirstein Professor, Human Relations, Harvard Business School
  • Scott Mead, President & Founder Partner, Richmond Park Partners
  • Arnon Milchan, Owner & Founder, Regency Enterprises
  • William Pfeiffer, CEO & Founder, Dragongate Entertainment
  • Bruce Rockowitz, Group President & CEO, Li & Fung Limited
  • Hardwick "Wick" Simmons, Former chairman, International Tennis Hall Of Fame
  • Jan Soderstrom, Chief marketing officer, SunPower corporation
  • Kimberly A. Williams, Chief Operating Officer, NFL Network, National Football League

See also

Tennis portal

References

External links

  • The official WTA Tour web site
  • WTA tour schedule
  • The official WTA Tour Twitter page
  • The official WTA Tour Facebook page
  • The official WTA Tour YouTube page

Template:WTA 125s seasons

Template:WTA Challenger tournaments

Template:International sports tours

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