The WTA announced on Monday that World No.1 Serena Williams has qualified for this year’s BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global – in doing so, setting another WTA record to add to her growing list of career accolades.
A five-time WTA Finals singles winner, Williams will be making her 10th appearance at the WTA Finals as the defending champion and winner of the last three editions of the event. The 33-year-old American owns an impressive 29-6 record at the WTA’s season finale, and has advanced to the finals seven times overall. She is the first player to qualify for this year’s competition – the earliest a player has secured qualification for the WTA Finals in its current format (since 2003).
“Serena is once again inspiring our fans with another historic season and I congratulate her on becoming the first player to secure her place at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “I am thrilled for our fans in Singapore that they will have an opportunity to watch one of the greatest players to ever play women’s tennis. Excitement has been building all year as players move up and down on the Road to Singapore leaderboard, and the second edition of our season finale in October promises to be very exciting.”
Williams has enjoyed another outstanding year on the court. As the first player since 2001 to win the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the season – the Australian Open and Roland Garros – she now owns 20 Grand Slam singles titles, second most in the Open Era behind only Steffi Graf (22). These results, coupled with a record eighth title at the Miami Open, drew her level with Billie Jean King for sixth most titles in the Open Era (67). Including the Wimbledon fortnight, Williams has held the No.1 ranking for 248 weeks in total and now 124 consecutive weeks, the third longest streak in WTA history after Steffi Graf (186) and Martina Navratilova (156). She remains the oldest woman to hold the top spot since the computer rankings were introduced in November 1975.
“I’m really thrilled to be the first player to qualify for the WTA Finals and I can’t wait to return to Singapore to defend my title,” said Serena. “Last year was my first time visiting Singapore and I really enjoyed myself – the crowd is amazing and I’m excited to be going back.”
Staged at the Singapore Sports Hub from October 23-November 1 in partnership with World Sport Group (WSG), the 2015 WTA Finals features the Top 8 singles players competing for one of the most prestigious trophies in women’s tennis, the Billie Jean King Trophy, while the Top 8 doubles teams will compete for the Martina Navratilova WTA Finals Doubles Trophy. With a record $7 million in prize money on the line, the round-robin singles competition will be the highlight of a 10-day tennis festival that will also include the WTA Legends Classic, WTA Rising Star Invitational and a WTA Future Stars event.
Wednesday, July 15, will mark the start of the 100 day countdown until the BNP Paribas WTA Finals. Here is the current Road to Singapore Singles Leaderboard (as of Monday, June 29):
1. Serena Williams (USA)
2. Simona Halep (ROU)
3. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
4. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
5. Lucie Safarova (CZE)
6. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
7. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
8. Angelique Kerber (GER)
9. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI)
10. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Last year, new milestones were set at the WTA Finals with record highs for attendance, TV viewing and online audiences as fans from around the world traveled to Singapore and tuned in to the exciting 10-day sport entertainment extravaganza showcasing the world’s best female athletes. The event attracted 129,000 spectators, including 93,000 fans who attended matches at the Singapore Sports Hub, through the 10 days of on- and off-court sport and entertainment in the stadium, as well as the fan festival which offered free access to the public.
In 2015, fans and spectators of the WTA Finals can expect the WTA to amplify engagement efforts by building a deeper connection with the fan base, delivering richer, more compelling digital content and creating money-can’t-buy experiences – all in an effort to become the most fan-friendly sport entertainment experience on earth.
Tickets for the general public start at S$16.90 and can be purchased through Sports Hub Tix www.sportshub.com.sg/WTAFinals, the official ticketing partner of the 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Log on to the WTA Finals website www.WTAFinals.com for more information and follow on Twitter (@WTAFinalsSG) and Facebook (facebook.com/WTAFinalsSG).