WTA releases improved 2009 calendar
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:00
The “2009 Roadmap Calendar” features 54 tournaments – including the four grand slams – across 31 countries and record prize money of over US$86 million.
The schedule has been streamlined to include 20 premier events, down from 26, and four of those tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing – will be mandatory. Under the new structure, top-10 players who miss premier events after making a commitment to play will face suspension, and there will be increased withdrawal fines.
“With the Roadmap reforms, 2009 will see the strongest women’s professional tennis product in the sport’s history,” WTA CEO Larry Scott said.
“Fans will be able to watch more stars and rivalries on the game’s biggest stages, and follow a shortened and streamlined season that unlocks the full value of women’s tennis.
“The fan, player and commercial partner experience will benefit significantly through more combined events, a calendar that keeps our players healthier, world-class facilities and more equal prize money events than ever before.
“These reforms will help lift tennis as a whole to new heights.”
The 2009 calendar will have 20 events in Europe, 15 events in the Americas and 14 events in the Asia-Pacific region. New tournaments will be held in Madrid, Brisbane, Monterrey, Ponte Vedra Beach, Bastad, Warsaw and Osaka.
The rankings system also will change in 2009, focusing on players’ best 16 results, and there will be a longer off-season. The year will conclude at the end of October, giving players nine weeks, instead of seven, before the start of the next campaign.
On-court coaching will be allowed next season as players will be able to request their coach once per set, either on a changeover or at the end of a set.