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WTA open to Guadalajara expanding footprint on tour calendar after success of year-end event
"I was talking to [organizer] Gustavo Santoscoy. He wants a big event—we are going to work with him to try to achieve that," Micky Lawler told El Uni.
Published Nov 19, 2021
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Holding the WTA Finals has positioned Guadalajara, Mexico as a potential location for another big WTA event.
The elite eight-player tournament had to find a new host city when it could not be played in Shenzhen, China as scheduled. Guadalajara was selected with just two months to prepare.
It ran in the same location as the WTA 250 event played during the first quarter of the season, but required a speedy turnaround. And by pulling it off, it could get more top players coming back.
"I was talking to [organizer] Gustavo Santoscoy. He wants a big event—we are going to work with him to try to achieve that," Micky Lawler, president of the WTA Tour, told El Uni. "The players enjoyed being here and... want to return."
Initial player concerns about the altitude appear to have been allayed. "Towards the beginning there were a lot of errors but they got used to it, and the play was at a very good level," was her comment.
The tournament also featured loud and involved crowds during the night sessions. That was a highlight of the event, noted Lawler.
"They had a lot of energy, they understand tennis, they appreciate tennis and they appreciate the skills of the players. That's what excited us the most," she said.
If the WTA Finals do not return to China, it is possible the Mexican city could be in line to stage it again, though the tour has not suggested this specifically.
Local sponsorship would be key for a larger event, according to Lawler. The Guadalajara event had 16 sponsors, eight of which were Mexican government entities or private companies, including title sponsor Akron.
Organizers also increased stadium capacity from 2,500 to 6,500 spectators, though numbers were limited by government restrictions. Around 70,000 spectators came to the event in total, the tournament announced.