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WTA to build Beijing into world tennis capital 2007-04-27 15:36:06
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    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 doubles winners.

    "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.

Editor: Lin Li
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