The world's top women tennis players will receive a 20 per cent pay rise next year and more rest time between events.
Players to get more rest and pay
DOHA // The world's top women tennis players will be getting a 20 per cent pay rise in 2009 following the confirmation of the new fixture list by the game's governing body even as the 2008 season ended on Sunday night. Larry Scott, the WTA chief executive, declared that the prize money hike from US$71million (Dh 260m) to $85m sent out a positive message that his organisation was in a healthy condition financially even as the global credit crisis continues to bite hard into major sporting events.
Scott, who earlier this week spoke about bringing a big women's tournament to Abu Dhabi in the near future, disclosed in his annual "state of the union" address that the UAE capital is one of 10 cities bidding to become a host venue. "We've never had a longer waiting list for cities that want to be on the tour than we have right now," said Scott. "There are 10 cities around the world that are quite frustrated with us because we don't yet have a spot for them on the tour.
"That level of demand shows that there are a lot of healthy signs out there in terms of where women's tennis is at. "Having said that, I think we are all keeping a careful watch about the world economy, and no one is complacent about it, that's for sure." An interesting innovation by the WTA next year will be to award byes to their busiest players at certain demanding times on the programme. Scott said an agreement had been reached with the players to give byes to the semi-finalists at tournaments in Rome and Tokyo which are closely followed by events in Madrid and Beijing respectively.
"In the past, byes have gone to the top seeds," said Scott. "Now we are conscious of the need not to overwork the top players so the four semi-finalists from those two events will get a bit more rest before the next ones." firstname.lastname@example.org