The transfer of the sanction for the WTA tournament in Carlsbad, California has been approved by the WTA Board of Directors, TENNIS.com has learned, and the event will be moved to Tokyo in 2014.
The WTA tournament at Stanford University will move into Carlsbad’s week on the calendar, beginning on July 28, while the new tournament in Tokyo will be played the week of September 15.
Octagon, which owns the WTA Carlsbad sanction, will run the tournament in Tokyo at an undetermined site, but with Tokyo having won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, it is likely that there will be new facility built that the tournament will eventually be able to move into.
A group in Tokyo sold its WTA Premier 5 level sanction to a group from Wuhan, China, last year. Wuhan, which is the home of Li Na and is one of China’s largest cities, has a new facility that can accommodate a large WTA tournament. Almost all WTA players are required to play WTA Premier 5-level events.
With Carlbad’s exit, there will now be three weeks in between the end of Wimbledon and the start of Stanford without a WTA tournament in the United States. In 2015, Wimbledon will move back a week on the calendar, reducing the gap to two weeks.
In the past eight years, Southern California—which is considered a hotbed of recreational tennis and has produced a number of American greats including the Williams sisters, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, and Lindsay Davenport—has lost four pro-level tournaments: Carlsbad; a WTA tournament in Los Angeles; an ATP tournament in Los Angeles; and the WTA Championships, which was played in downtown Los Angeles from 2002-2005.
The new owners of the La Costa resort, Omni Hotels, briefly considered keeping the tournament, but then backed away.
In addition to this news about Carlsbad, the status of the WTA tournament in New Haven, Connecticut is also up in the air.
TENNIS.com has learned that the Winston-Salem ATP 250 tournament, which is played at the same time as New Haven—the week before the U.S. Open—tried to buy the New Haven sanction and make it a combined event, but the ATP Board of Directors turned down the request. This is possibly because the tournament wouldn’t offer the men enough additional compensation for allowing the tournament to combine with the WTA. New Haven offered $690,000 in prize money this year, while Winston-Salem only offered $578,250.
The sanction for the New Haven tournament is still being shopped around, but until a decision is made, it will remain on the 2014 WTA calendar in that city and time slot. New Haven organizers are said to be actively working on trying and keep it in the city.
The USTA, which owns the tournament, plans to keep it in the United States.