Shenzhen to host WTA Finals until 2028

Caroline Wozniacki beat Venus Williams to win the WTA Finals title last year

Manchester has missed out on hosting the WTA Finals, with Shenzhen given a 10-year deal.

But the WTA has opted to keep the tournament in Asia, with Shenzhen committing to doubling the current prize money to $14m (£10.11m) per year and building a new 12,000-seat stadium.

The prize money for the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams is also a major upgrade from the current purse of $7 million and is almost double the $8 million in total prize money on offer at the ATP Finals in London. "With the new arena that's being built, it will be built in the downtown district, which hasn't been done".

"The financial backing and government commitment is an exceptional investment in the WTA that will help us to develop women's tennis in all corners of the world for years to come".

Singapore will not remain the host city of the WTA Finals after this year as the season-ending tournament will move to Shenzhen, China, The Straits Times (ST) understands.

Simon said, however, that time is needed to build a successful event in a new market.

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Ms Sarah Clements, vice-president, Tennis (Asia) at Lagardere Sports, confirmed the end of Singapore's run as host yesterday and said: "It has been a wonderful journey, and we would like to wish the WTA as well as the next host city every success".

Women's Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon said in 2016 the body was searching for a permanent base for the season-finale, and Singapore was a location it "would be very proud to call home". It did not elaborate on the reasons.

"I have chosen to start my season in Shenzhen for a few years now", the Romanian said. "I don't have one to put there today, but it's something we will certainly look at".

This year's women's event, the Jan 1-6 WTA Shenzhen Open, had a prize purse of US$750,000 (S$992,000) and a line-up that included world No. 1 and eventual victor Simona Halep, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova.

After winning her second-round match at the Australian Open, Sharapova said the move to southern China was good because "we want to be where the growth will be". "This is a major infusion of new capital, and that is huge for us because it gives us the chance to really grow the sport", said Micky Lawler, the WTA president who negotiated the contract. "They're willing to build a stadium, willing to accept the game and its level and the players".

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