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Highlights Of The Changes Made By The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour For 2009

Friday, September 5, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Sony Ericsson WTA Tour 2009 Changes

Longer Off-Season
• 30% increase in off-season (7 to 9 weeks, with season to end in October)

Streamlined Calendar Structure
• 20 Premier events featuring top players (reduced from 26 Tier I/II events):
- 4 Premier, mandatory, $4.5 million equal prize money combined events anchoring calendar in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing
- 15 other Premier events, including $2 million events in Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto and Tokyo, and other top events in Paris, Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford, Los Angeles, Sydney, Berlin, Eastbourne, New Haven and Moscow
- Season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, featuring equal prize money of $4.45 million
• 30 International tournaments, culminating in season-ending Commonwealth Bank International Tournament of Champions

Healthier Calendar
• Longer off-season, more in-season breaks for players (eg. post-Wimbledon)
• Player commitment reduced by 23%, from 13 to 10 tournaments for top players
• Limitation on top player ability to play events outside of 20 Premier events

Record Prize Money
• 39% increase in Tour prize money from 2006 to 2009

Equal Prize Money
• Equal prize money at 4 Grand Slams, 4 Premier cornerstone events (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing), Dubai and season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships

Record Investment
• $710 million in new stadium facility investments, including world-class new stadiums in China and Madrid
• $84 million in season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships deals in Doha 2008-2010 and Istanbul 2011-2013

More Combined/Back-to-Back Events
• 31% of events will be combined men/women
• 46% of events will be either combined or back-to-back in 2009

Revenue Sharing
• Tennis' first ever revenue sharing to see players share in tournament revenue growth, and link player commitment to increases in prize money

China
• Major Tour presence and expansion into China market, with China Open as one of the four cornerstones of the calendar, and a new Asia-Pacific Tour HQ in Beijing

New Ranking System
• Best 16 results and more directly linked to the Tour's top events by awarding of "zero pointers" for any missed Premier commitment tournament, Grand Slam or the Sony Ericsson Championships

Stronger Penalties/Suspensions
• Suspension system for Top 10 players who miss Premier commitment tournaments and increased withdrawal fines

Click here to see the 2009 Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Calendar.

The 2009 Tour calendar features 54 tournaments (inclusive of the four Grand Slams) across 31 countries and record prize money of over $86 million. The international breadth of tournaments includes 25 events in Europe, 15 events in the Americas and 14 events in the Asia-Pacific region. Seventeen combined events include Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing, Sydney, Moscow, Eastbourne, New Haven, Brisbane, 's-Hertogenbosch, Estoril, Memphis and Acapulco, along with the four Grand Slams. Eight back-to-back men/women events include Dubai, Tokyo, Rome, Cincinnati, Canada, Auckland, Bastad and Warsaw. 2009 will also see new tournaments in Madrid, Brisbane, Monterrey, Ponte Vedra Beach, Bastad, Warsaw and Osaka. Additionally, in 2011, Rome, Cincinnati and Canada will all be combined men/women events.

On Court Coaching
The 2009 Roadmap calendar will also feature on-court coaching at all events, following approval by the Tour Board at its US Open meeting of this fan entertainment innovation. The decision to implement on-court coaching follows extensive testing of the concept and strong support from broadcasters, sponsors and tournaments and majority support from the Tour's Players Council.

Under the new rule, players can request their coach once per set, either on a changeover or at the end of a set. In addition, a player may request her coach if her opponent has requested a medical timeout or change of attire/toilet break. All coaches called on court during televised matches will be required to wear a microphone to capture the coaching conversation for TV viewers.

"I applaud the Tour for taking a bold step to increase access and enhance entertainment for TV viewers," said Jason Bernstein, ESPN's Senior Director for Programming & Acquisitions. "Women's tennis has been a leader in player access initiatives, and on-court coaching will be a great addition for the fan experience."




Posted by Shelia

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