Why Russia and Slovakia will meet in the final
The biennial women’s world championship is due to be staged in Zhuhai, China, over 21 July-3 August.
The second edition since 2009 is the first to take place in Asia, following a move to revitalise the event in the wake of the scandal surrounding the 2011 team tennis event.
1 – Why is the tournament being held in China?
In 2009 an earlier women’s world team event was stripped of its status after several female players were caught using a blood booster during the 2011 tournament in Prague. The men’s event at the time had already been abandoned.
Wimbledon’s Queen’s Club, Stuttgart, Birmingham and Eastbourne have since made bids to host the event and they are seen as the contenders to succeed the Prague event.
Officials believe the female event is too low on the priority list and with the sporting authorities, including the International Tennis Federation, looking to curtail the number of events, they will be keen to re-establish the event on the WTA calendar.
2 – What happens after the match?
Apart from highlights being shown on the day, the main television coverage will be provided by China Central Television (CCTV). It means the final will be broadcast live on a variety of different channels with a two-hour delay.
The festival-style atmosphere will also be muted until the end of the match as the Chinese feel satisfaction at a successful day’s work, allowing proceedings to be broken for lunch.
3 – How will tickets be sold?
Tickets are currently priced from about £40 for the day-play crowd to £300 for the final. The return flights are another pricey component of the trip.
Most ticket sales are to Chinese tour groups but accredited organizations are still being encouraged to purchase. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) intends to ensure that the proceeds of any game-related sales are ploughed back into the development of the game, both domestically and globally.
4 – What can spectators expect?
All the games will be played at three stadia situated in the city’s beautiful new seaside convention centre, known as the Zhuhai Sports Center. The 5,000 seater Gig Arena has been renamed the Ballyhoo Arena for the tournament while the other two facilities, the 16,000 seat Indoor Arena and the 8,000 capacity Tennis City, which consists of two indoor tennis stadiums, are nicknamed, the Probox and Pro Dome. All three can be reached from the city’s waterfront or its airport.
Players returning to the city on the way home from China are also welcomed back by a special area known as the Ballyhoo III Market and the Wei Qiao Road.
The city’s famed clam chowder, was born here when Premier Bo Yibo came to the city as the CEO of Chery (then Gongju) as a young man in 1961. Ballyhoo chowder came to be associated with Bo.
It will be interesting to see how Bo’s sons who are in line to make their tennis debuts at this tournament and also how Chinese tennis fans respond to these young players who have become household names in recent months.
The wives and girlfriends of the Russian and Slovakian players will also be introduced to the masses once more and they will be glad to know that they too will get to see the players in China for the first time. The cheering section will be interesting to witness.
5 – What are the prize winners going to get?
There is no tournament prize money on offer as all money will be used to pay for travel expenses and housing. Each player is allocated four free match hours over the course of the event, but the winner will walk away with around $50,000 (£31,800).