The AELTC and The Championships, Wimbledon, have welcomed the news that 2016 could feature a new grass court event in the WTA calendar.
The 32-player main draw International event is set to be staged by e|motion management GmbH, the current managers of the ATP 250 event in Stuttgart, at a multi-purpose-built facility, sports complex in Mallorca, Spain. In 2016, Mallorca will join Birmingham in the second week of the three-week swing, resulting in five WTA grass court events in the lead-up to The Championships.
The sports complex in Mallorca will feature five permanent natural grass courts and world class facilities, including a retail development and a tennis academy. The construction and maintenance of the grass courts will be done in collaboration with the AELTC, which has been a prime supporter in the project.
Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Championships, Wimbledon, said: "I am delighted to welcome today’s announcement of the prospect of a new event in Mallorca and wish to thank the WTA, the Mallorca Council and e|motion for their support of grass court tennis and their considerable efforts in creating an exciting new event for players and fans to enjoy. The Aegon Classic in Birmingham is already a successful, well-established and growing event and having a second event in week two will be another important step in achieving our vision of a significantly strengthened grass court season."
"From my point of view, for me the most important thing is having a tournament in Mallorca," commented Rafael Nadal. "Mallorca is going to be in the newspapers, Mallorca is going to sound around the world and that’s great for our island. At the end, we need the promotion because our economy depends on the tourism and it’s true that the tourism is working well but nobody can stop the promotion. And to have a tournament in Mallorca in tennis, even if it’s women – sorry that it’s not men for me because I never had the chance when I was at the top to play a real tournament in Mallorca. I played in Mallorca 2002 probably. But it’s great and it’s going to be something new. Hopefully the conditions will be fine."
Beginning in 2015, the three weeks of grass-court events will be composed of two International level events in the first week in Nottingham, England and in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, which moves earlier from its traditional timing. The Aegon Classic in Birmingham follows in the second week, with the Aegon International at Eastbourne Premier event in the third week, before the attention of the tennis world settles on Wimbledon.
Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO said: "With the grass court season set to expand next year, it was important for the WTA to provide players and fans alike with a fresh opportunity to experience the expanded grass court tennis season. Thanks to the cooperation of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, the WTA Board of Directors and e|motion management, the event in Mallorca will strengthen the grass court season leading up to Wimbledon."
Edwin Weindorfer, CEO and Founder of e|motion management said: "We are very excited about the great opportunity to join the WTA with a new tournament in Mallorca, Spain. Besides thanking the WTA and their board for their trust and committment to provide us with the licence and sanction of this new event, we wanted to further thank The All England Lawn Tennis Club for their ongoing support and vision for another grasscourt tournament in continental Europe."
Peer Zebergs, newly appointed Tournament Director added: "The island of Mallorca is known for its sports celebrities and great sporting events. This WTA International tournament will increase the sports portfolio in Mallorca and it will be an important factor for tourism to millions of foreign visitors and the local population in Palma and Mallorca in the coming years."
The complete 2016 WTA Calendar will be released in due course.
2015 WTA Grass Court Calendar:
Week 23 (June 8)
Week 24 (June 15)
Week 25 (June 22)
Week 26 & 27 (June 29 & July 6)
The Championships, Wimbledon
Provisional 2016 WTA Grass Court Calendar:
Week 24 (June 6)
Week 25 (June 13)
Week 26 (June 20)
Week 27 & 28 (June 27 & July 4)
The Championships, Wimbledon
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