Understanding the Women’s Pro Tour #2

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As previously discussed, the WTA and the ITF are the governing bodies of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Together they are responsible for managing and staging the events that make up the 7 categories of tournaments each year.

To recap, these categories are:

  1. The Grand Slams;
  2. Sony Ericsson Championships;
  3. Premier Mandatory;
  4. Premier 5;
  5. Premier;
  6. International events; and
  7. ITF Women’s Circuit.

These events form the basis of the annual tournament calendar and are vital in determining the overall rankings of the top women’s professional tennis players.

In this post we will concentrate on the top 4 categories of events; The Grand Slams, the Sony Ericsson Championships, the Premier Mandatory and the Premier 5 tournaments. Each year there are 4 Grand Slam events, 1 Sony Ericsson Championship event, 4 Premier Mandatory events and 5 Premier Five events. Together, these 14 events are the most important singles events that a female tennis professional can play.

The 4 Grand Slam tournaments in calendar order are:

  • The Australian Open (Hard court);
  • Roland Garros – often called the French Open (Clay court);
  • Wimbledon (Grass court); and
  • The US Open (Hard court).

The 4 Premier Mandatory tournaments in calendar order are:

  • Indian Wells, California, USA (Hard court);
  • Miami, Florida, USA (Hard court);
  • Madrid, Spain (on Clay for the first time in 2009); and
  • Beijing, China (Hard court).

The 5 Premier Five tournaments in calendar order are:

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Hard court);
  • Rome, Italy (Clay);
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Hard court);
  • Toronto/Montreal, Canada* (Hard court); and
  • Tokyo, Japan (Hard court).

* For the years falling on an odd number, for example 2009, the women play in Toronto and in the even numbered years they play in Montreal (e.g. in 2010).

This year the Sony Ericsson Championships will be held in Doha, Qatar from October 27 to November 1 for the 2nd year of its 3 year term.

The Sony Ericsson Championships is the pinnacle of the tennis calendar, as the year end World No.1 ranking can be determined at this tournament. The event is structured so that players need to qualify for only 8 spots in the draw, in effect creating a race to make the end of year finals.

Each year is termed a tennis season. The player, who finishes with the World No.1 ranking after the final match at the Sony Ericsson Championships is played, is declared the champion for that season.

The aim of this category: “The Tour: Explained” is to make it easy for everybody to understand the tour. To read part 1 on this tennis website click this link -> Understanding the Women’s Pro Tour #1.

© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2009

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