WTA mulling new women`s tennis World Cup
Women`s tennis is considering introducing a new World Cup team event, its head said Saturday, a move which may bring competition for the soon-to-be-launched International Premier Tennis League.
Singapore: Women`s tennis is considering introducing a new World Cup team event, its head said Saturday, a move which may bring competition for the soon-to-be-launched International Premier Tennis League.
Stacey Allaster, chair and CEO of the Women`s Tennis Association, said plans envisaged a five-day team event "with all-star elements" in one location with ranking points and $4-5 million in prize money.
Her comments came as the IPTL, brainchild of Indian former doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi, prepares for its debut with four three-day team events in Asia spread over two weeks in November-December.
Allaster said the WTA had looked at successful team competitions like golf`s Ryder Cup, rugby sevens, NBA basketball and the UEFA Champions League football before coming up with the World Cup idea.
"The market recommendation, the demand from sponsors, host nations, and fans, is a World Cup event with all-star elements over a five?day period," she said in a "WTA State of the Tour" address in Singapore.
"So we are going to go to market and see if the market is really there. We haven`t decided if we`re going to do it. I`ll say it again: we haven`t decided if we will do it.
"However, we believe we have a responsibility. I think the demand is there. Others are doing it. If we don`t do it, someone else is going to do it. In fact, somebody is doing it."
The IPTL, with city-based teams including star players and former greats, will feature five one-set matches of singles and doubles. Ties will be played in Manila, Singapore, Mumbai and Dubai.
Allaster said the WTA has also appointed a new president, Micky Lawler, as it aims to push forward 41 years after its creation by American legend Billie Jean King.
She said other innovations which may be tested next year included live-streaming practice, and making players hold open sessions where they hit with fans and children.
Players may also walk out on court with young girls, adopting a tradition of football and other sports, and spectators will be able to keep balls that are hit into the stands, as in baseball.
Allaster and the WTA have made a big bet on Asia, including moving the ongoing WTA Finals to Singapore and organising seven events on Chinese soil next year.