BEIJING, April 27 (Xinhua) -- WTA Chief Executive
Officer Larry Scott, who is paying a visit to Beijing this week, has promised to
help turn the city into the "tennis capital of the world".
"We want to make Beijing a true tennis capital in the
world," Scott was quoted as saying on Friday's China Daily. "The city is our
most important focus and a base to promote the sport in different cities and
also the whole of Asia."
The WTA board has approved a major overhaul of
women's tennis that will see a shorter season anchored by four crown-jewel
mandatory events, with a stressed drive into China.
Beijing will host a nine-day crown-jewel WTA
tournament on the 20-tour top-level calendar since 2009. Other mandatory women's
stops would be in Madrid, Miami and Indian Wells, California.
The streamlined WTA calendar of top events will
include Asia-Pacific regional stops in Tokyo, Sydney, Doha and Dubai as well as
Beijing, which will also host a new regional WTA office starting in 2008 to
guide marketing and promotions.
"The tennis capital means Beijing will be our primary
focus in Asia," he said. "I think it is the best time to bring the tournament to
Beijing. Women's tennis is in its best time now. The popularity has never been
higher; the prize money is on the highest level. With the increasing support
from our global and local sponsors, the sport can get even stronger."
Chinese tennis players have been making impressive
breakthroughs in singles and doubles recent years, characterized by Li Na,
current women's number 17 in world rankings, who became the first Chinese to
reach quarterfinals in a Grand Slam, and Zheng Jie/Yan Zi, two-time Grand Slam
"Given the success of China's women's players, girls'
participation in tennis is much more advanced than many other countries, but I
believe there are still some places we can improve," Scott added.