Hong Kong to host new WTA tournament



Hong Kong will next year host its first tennis tournament on the international tour for more than a decade when it stages a WTA competition, organisers said Thursday.

The week-long Hong Kong Tennis Open in September 2014 will be played in Victoria Park, the city's major downtown green space, and there are hopes of attracting the international stars of women's tennis.

"Hong Kong has never held a WTA tour event before," said Tom Reed, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Tennis Association which is organising the event.

"It's to be a major event on Hong Kong's calendar."

The tournament will have a prize pot of US$250,000 and include one top 10 player.

"We are exploring all options on which player. We are hoping to have a very strong field with good representations from Chinese, local players and some top international players," Reed said.

Organisers added that they hoped the tournament, which was secured with financial help from the Hong Kong government, would become a regular event.

Hong Kong's top-ranked female player Zhang Ling said: "To have the opportunity to compete against your peers in an internationally sanctioned tournament in your home city is a dream come true for me.

"The tournament will certainly be one of the highlights for the year and a key focus in my preparation for 2014."

The city hosted the ATP Hong Kong Open until 2002.

The Hong Kong Tennis Classic, an exhibition event which attracted some of the world's top players including Roger Federer and Venus Williams, was cancelled in 2012 due to lack of sponsorship.

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