WTA CEO Steve Simon wants a 'healthier and more balanced calendar'

by: Kamakshi Tandon | October 28, 2016

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Steve Simon wants the WTA Finals to be the last event of the tour's season. (AP) 

WTA CEO Steve Simon wants to change the scheduling of Asian events, including a rearrangement of tournaments so the WTA Finals is the final event of the WTA season.

Speaking at a press conference at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Simon pointed to specific issues with scheduling, particularly during this portion of the season. He cited the "tight turn" between the WTA Finals and the final tournaments in Luxembourg and Moscow, which was highlighted when Svetlana Kuznetsova won Moscow to secure a spot in Singapore, and then only had a day to get to the tournament and start playing.

"We obviously, here in Asia, had transition challenges when you transition from Tokyo to Wuhan to Beijing,” Simon said. “These are areas we have to find solutions for and fix that, no question about it."

He suggested moving the Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai, which is a round-robin championship for players ranked below the Top 8. It currently takes place the week after the WTA Finals. The two events could be switched around to provide an extra week between the final WTA events on the schedule and the WTA Finals.

But Simon also noted that any change would involve complex reorganization.

"[It] seems on paper [that] it's a simple flip, but there are obviously a lot of elements involved with respect to player flow, business issues, contracts," he said. "There are a number of different things, but there is a solution there."

Simon is satisfied with Singapore as the site of the WTA Finals.

"This event has grown and improved each and every year,” he said.

His next aim is to keep the tournament in a fixed spot, rather than move it regularly, like in recent years. 

“We certainly have had conversations with the local government and the supporting parties here,” he said, “and have indicated we would love to talk about a longer future here in Singapore.

He did add that the tour would also consider shifting elsewhere.

"I would certainly like, at some point, for these WTA Finals to find a more permanent home for them,” he said, “where we can truly build the event, the traditions, and you can make the investments that you need to truly build an event."

The changes being considered are part of Simon's general desire to reconfigure the tour schedule.

"We need to provide for a healthier and more balanced calendar,” the CEO said, “that maintains one of our key strengths, which is our global presence, while allowing our players to play a much healthier schedule."

The WTA is the governing body of women's tennis on the pro circuit.

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