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WTA Tour

The WTA logo

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA), founded in 1973 by Billie Jean King, is the principal organizing body of women's professional tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women. Its counterpart organization in the men's professional game is the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

The Women's Tennis Association was founded in the month of June 1973, but can trace its origins back to Houston with the inaugural Virginia Slims tournament, arranged by Gladys Heldman, and held on 23 September 1970. Rosie Casals won this first event. The WTA's corporate headquarters is in St. Petersburg. The European headquarters is in London, and the Asia-Pacific headquarters is in Beijing.

HistoryEdit

The Open Era, allowing professional players to compete alongside amateurs, began in 1968. The first open tournament was the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth. At the first Open Wimbledon the prize fund difference was 2.5:1 in favour of men. Billie Jean King won £750 for taking the title while Rod Laver won £2,000. The total purses of both competitions were £14,800 for men and £5,680 for women. Confusion also reigned as no one knew how many open tournaments there were supposed to be. The tournaments who did not want to provide prize money eventually faded out of the calendar, including the U.S. Eastern Grass Court circuit with stops at Merion Cricket Club and Essex county club.

There were also two professional circuits in existence at the start of the Open Era: World Championship Tennis (WCT), which was men only, and the National Tennis League (NTL). Ann Jones, Rosie Casals, Francoise Durr, and Billie Jean King joined NTL. King was paid $40,000 a year, Jones was paid $25,000, and Casals and Durr were paid $20,000 each. The group played established tournaments such as the US Open and Wimbledon. But the group also organised their own tournaments playing in the south of France for two months. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) then imposed several sanctions on the Group. The women were not allowed to play in the Wightman Cup in 1968 and 1969. The USTLA refused to include Casals and King in their rankings for these years.

By the 1970s the pay, which had been 2.5:1 ratio between men and women, increased. As King states “Promoters were making more money. Male tennis players were making more money. Everybody was making more money except the women.” In 1969, ratios of 5:1 in terms of pay between men and women were common at smaller tournaments. By 1970 these figures ballooned to 8:1 and even 12:1.

In 1970 Margaret Court won the Grand Slam and received only a $15,000 bonus, whereas the men could achieve up to $1 million. The low point in the women’s pay suffering came before the US Open in 1970. The Pacific Southwest Championships directed by Jack Kramer, had announced a 12:1 ratio in the prize money difference between what males and females would win. The tournament would not take place until after the US Open. Several female players contacted Gladys Heldman, publisher of World Tennis Magazine, and stated that they wanted to boycott the event. While she advised against it, she then created the 1970 Houston Women's Invitation for nine women players.

The Original Nine women from the Houston event, along with Heldman, then created their own tour, the Virginia Slims Circuit, which would later absorb the ILTF's Women's Grand Prix circuit, and eventually become the WTA Tour. The circuit was composed of 19 tournaments, all based in the United States (one in Puerto Rico).

Formation of the Virginia Slims Circuit resulted in part from changes that tennis was undergoing at the time and from the way prize moneys were distributed. During the first two years of the Open Era a large number of male players began playing professionally, and the tournaments in which they competed, often men's and women's combined events, attracted increased investment. The International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) began dropping several women's competitions from the tournaments it presided over. For example, in 1970, the ILTF sanctioned 15 men-only tournaments, all of which had previously been combined events.

The WTA was founded at a meeting organized by Billie Jean King, a week before the 1973 Wimbledon Championships. This meeting, held at Gloucester Hotel in London. In 1975, the WTA increased its financial stature by signing a television broadcast contract with CBS, the first in the WTA's history. Further financial developments ensued. In 1976, Colgate assumed sponsorship of the circuit from April to November. In 1979, Avon replaced Virginia Slims as the sponsor of the winter circuit, and in its first year offered the largest prize fund for a single tournament, $100,000 for the Avon Championships, in the WTA tennis history.

Growth milestonesEdit

The WTA circuit continued to expand during these years. In 1971, King became the first female athlete to surpass $100,000 in earnings for a single year. Chris Evert became the female athlete to win over $1,000,000 in career earnings in 1976. By 1980, over 250 women were playing professionally, and the circuit consisted of 47 global events, offering a total of $7.2 million in prize money. These increased financial opportunities allowed for groundbreaking developments not only in tennis, but across women's sports.

In 1982, Martina Navratilova became the first to win over $1,000,000 in a single year. Navratilova's single year earnings exceeded $2 million in 1984. In 1997, Martina Hingis became the first to earn over $3 million during a single year. In 2003, Kim Clijsters surpassed $4 million in earnings for a single year. In 2006, Venus Williams and the WTA pushed for equal prize money at both the French Open and Wimbledon. Both of these Grand Slam events relented in 2007 and awarded equal money for the first time. This enabled Justine Henin, who won the French Open in 2007, to earn over $5 million that year, becoming the first woman in sports to do this. In 2009, Serena Williams went over the six million mark by earning a over $6.5 million in a single year. Then in 2012 both Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka became first players to exceed $7 million in prize money in a single season.

ManagementEdit

Larry Scott became Chairman and CEO of the WTA on April 16, 2003. While at the WTA, Scott put together the largest sponsorship in the history of women's sports, a six-year, $88-million sponsorship deal with Sony Ericsson. On March 24, 2009, Scott announced that he was resigning as WTA chief in order to take up a new position as the Commissioner of the Pacific-10 Conference, now the Pacific-12 Conference, on July 1, 2009. On July 13, 2009, WTA Tour announced the appointment of Stacey Allaster, the Tour's President since 2006, as the new Chairman and CEO of the WTA.

Tournament categoriesEdit

  • The current tournament structure was introduced in 2009. Premier Tournaments replaced the previous Tier I and Tier II events, and International Tournaments replaced Tier III and IV events.
  1. Grand Slam tournaments (4)
  2. Year-ending championships (WTA Tour Championships)
  3. Premier tournaments:
    1. Premier Mandatory: Four combined tournaments with male professional players, with U.S.$4.5 million in equal prize money for men and women. These tournaments are being held in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, and Beijing.
    2. Premier Five: Five $2 million events in Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto / Montreal, and Tokyo
    3. Premier: Ten events with prize money from U.S.$600,000 to U.S.$1 million.
  4. International tournaments: There are 31 tournaments, with a prize money for every event at U.S.$220,000, except for the year-ending Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, originally held in Bali but now in Sofia, which has prize money of U.S.$600,000.
  5. Challenger tournaments (since 2012): There are 3 tournaments, with prize money for every event at U.S. $125,000.

Ranking points are also available at tournaments on the ITF Women's Circuit organised by the International Tennis Federation, which comprises several hundred tournaments each year with prize funds ranging from U.S. $10,000 to U.S. $100,000, and at the Olympic Games.

Players’ CouncilEdit

2011 Players’ Council

Ranking methodEdit

Description W F SF QF R16 R32 R64 R128 QLFR Q3 Q2 Q1
Grand Slam (S) 2000 1400 900 500 280 160 100 5 60 50 40 2
Grand Slam (D) 2000 1400 900 500 280 160 5 - 48 - - -
WTA Tour Championships (S) +450 +360 (230 for each round robin match won
70 for each round robin match lost)
WTA Tour Championships (D) 1500 1050 690
Premier Mandatory (96S) 1000 700 450 250 140 80 50 5 30 - 20 1
Premier Mandatory (64S) 1000 700 450 250 140 80 5 - 30 - 20 1
Premier Mandatory (28/32D) 1000 700 450 250 140 5 - - - - - -
Premier 5 (56S) 900 620 395 225 125 70 1 - 30 - 20 1
Premier 5 (28D) 900 620 395 225 125 1 - - - - - -
Olympics 685 470 340 (bronze)
260 (4th)
175 95 55 1 - - - - -
Premier (56S) 470 320 200 120 60 40 1 - 12 - 8 1
Premier (32S) 470 320 200 120 60 1 - - 20 12 8 1
Premier (16D) 470 320 200 120 1 - - - - - - -
Template:Nowrap +195 +75 (60 for each win, 25 for each loss)
International (56S) 280 200 130 70 30 15 1 - 10 - 6 1
International (32S) 280 200 130 70 30 1 - - 16 10 6 1
International (16D) 280 200 130 70 1 - - - - - - -
Challenger $125,000 (32S) 160 117 85 44 22 1 - - 6 4 1 -
Challenger $125,000 (16D) 160 117 85 44 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $100,000 + H(32) 150 110 80 40 20 1 - - - 6 4 1
ITF $100,000 + H(16) 150 110 80 40 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $100,000 (32) 140 100 70 36 18 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $100,000 (16) 140 100 70 36 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $75,000 + H(32) 130 90 58 32 16 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $75,000 + H(16) 130 90 58 32 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $75,000 (32) 110 78 50 30 14 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $75,000 (16) 110 78 50 30 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $50,000 + H(32) 90 64 40 24 12 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $50,000 + H(16) 90 64 40 24 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $50,000 (32) 70 50 32 18 10 1 - - 6 4 1 -
ITF $50,000 (16) 70 50 32 18 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $25,000 (32) 50 34 24 14 8 1 - - 1 - - -
ITF $25,000 (16) 50 34 24 14 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $10,000 (32) 12 8 6 4 1 - - - - - - -
ITF $10,000 (16) 12 8 6 1 0 - - - - - - -

"+H" indicates that Hospitality is provided.

WTA RankingsEdit

These lists are based on the WTA Rankings.

WTA Rankings (Singles), as of November 12, 2012[1]
# Player Points Prev Move
1 Belarus Victoria Azarenka 10,595 1 Steady
2 Russia Maria Sharapova 10,045 2 Steady
3 United States Serena Williams 9,400 3 Steady
4 Poland Agnieszka Radwańska 7,425 4 Steady
5 Germany Angelique Kerber 5,550 5 Steady
6 Italy Sara Errani 5,100 6 Steady
7 China Li Na 5,095 7 Steady
8 Czech Republic Petra Kvitová 5,085 8 Steady
9 Australia Samantha Stosur 4,135 9 Steady
10 Denmark Caroline Wozniacki 3,765 10 Steady
11 France Marion Bartoli 3,740 11 Steady
12 Russia Nadia Petrova 3,040 12 Steady
13 Serbia Ana Ivanovic 2,900 13 Steady
14 RussiaMaria Kirilenko 2,540 14 Steady
15 Slovakia Dominika Cibulková 2,495 15 Steady
16 Italy Roberta Vinci 2,475 16 Steady
17 Czech Republic Lucie Šafářová 2,125 17 Steady
18 Germany Julia Görges 1,965 18 Steady
19 Estonia Kaia Kanepi1,929 19 Steady
20 Russia Ekaterina Makarova 1,841 20 Steady
WTA Rankings (Doubles), as of November 5, 2012
# Player Points Prev Move
1 Italy Roberta Vinci 10,030 1 Steady
2 Italy Sara Errani 10,030 2 Steady
3 Czech Republic Andrea Hlaváčková 8,160 3 Steady
4 Czech Republic Lucie Hradecká 8,160 4 Steady
5 Russia Nadia Petrova 7,065 5 Steady
6 United States Lisa Raymond 6,585 6 Steady
7 Russia Maria Kirilenko 6,550 7 Steady
8 United States Liezel Huber 6,510 8 Steady
9 Russia Elena Vesnina 6,120 9 Steady
10 Spain Nuria Llagostera Vives 5,540 10 Steady
11 Russia Ekaterina Makarova 5,170 11 Steady
12 India Sania Mirza 4,415 12 Steady
13 United States Raquel Kops-Jones 4,300 13 Steady
14 United States Abigail Spears 4,300 14 Steady
15 Spain María José Martínez Sánchez 4,136 15 Steady
16 Slovenia Katarina Srebotnik 3,935 16 Steady
17 Czech Republic Květa Peschke 3,590 17 Steady
18 Germany Anna-Lena Grönefeld 3,165 18 Steady
19 China Zheng Jie 3,120 19 Steady
20 Czech Republic Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová 2,925 20 Steady

Global Advisory Council membersEdit

The Global Advisory Council of international business leaders has sixteen members Template:As of.

  • Darcy Antonellis, President, Technical Operations Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • Sir Richard Branson, Chairman & Founder, Virgin Group, Ltd.
  • Karen Elliott House, Former Publisher, Wall Street Journal
  • Scott Mead, President & Founder Partner, Richmond Park Partners
  • Kimberly A. Williams, Chief Operating Officer, NFL Network, National Football League
  • Jan Soderstrom, Chief Marketing Officer, SunPower Corporation
  • Wick Simmons, Former Chairman, International Tennis Hall of Fame
  • Arnon Milchan, Owner & Founder, Regency Enterprises
  • Edward H. Meyer, President & Founding Partner, Ocean Road Advisors
  • Jay Lorsch, Louis E. Kirstein Professor, Human Relations, Harvard Business School
  • Billie Jean King, Co-Founder, World TeamTennis, Founder, WTA Tour
  • Claude de Jouvencel, Member, Supervisory Council of Groupe Marnier-Lapostolle (Grand Marnier), Chairman, Wine & Spirits Association of France (FEVS)
  • Bessie Lee, Chief Executive Officer, GroupM China
  • Winston Lord, Chairman Emeritus, International Rescue Committee, Former US Ambassador to China
  • William Pfeiffer, CEO & Founder, Dragongate Entertainment
  • Bruce Rockowitz, Group President & CEO, Li & Fung Limited

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit



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Template:Top ten tennis players Template:Tennis box


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