Passionate fans help Hong Kong Open win players’ vote for WTA best international women’s tennis tournament
- The US$750,000 event beat out 32 other tournaments of similar stature for the top prize
- Fans’ passion, quality of staff, organisation and dedication to the sport are among the factors that influenced players
- The annual tournament is popular among players such as Naomi Osaka and Venus Williams
The passion shown for the tournament by fans, organisation, staff efficiency and dedication to the sport and athletes are among the factors identified by players that made Hong Kong stand out, according to the Hong Kong Tennis Association.
“Thanks to all our supporters!” local organisers said in a tweet. “#PHKTO2018 has outdone 32 other WTA International Series events worldwide in its category and been awarded ‘International Tournament of the Year’ at the 2018 WTA Tournament of the Year Awards!”
— WTA (@WTA) December 10, 2018
The US$750,000 tournament, held this year from October 6-14, attracted some of the world’s best players, including US Open champion and Japanese-Haitian sensation Naomi Osaka – and was won by Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, who beat China’s Wang Qiang in the final.
The WTA Tour has four awards for tournaments based on their status on the tour. The highest-tier award – Premier Mandatory – went to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in Florida.
The Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome won the Premier 5 award and the Premier prize was taken by the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Hong Kong’s 32-draw women’s singles and 16-draw doubles tournament at Victoria Park earned best International tournament.
Thanks to all our supporters! #PHKTO2018 has outdone 32 other WTA International Series events worldwide in its category and been awarded ‘International Tournament of the Year’ at the 2018 WTA Tournament of the Year Awards!https://t.co/ILCLm7VAyx
— HongKong Tennis Open (@HKTennisOpen) December 10, 2018
The Hong Kong event has always proven popular with the women, including the likes of seven-time grand slam champion Venus Williams and Osaka, who attended the event this year despite pulling out with a back injury because she wanted to experience the atmosphere.
“For me playing here, this is one of my most favourite tournaments of the year,” Osaka said at the time. “Even at the beginning of the year, I look forward to coming to Hong Kong.
“Just having to pull out, and for it to be here, it was really sad for me. That’s why I made the trip down here anyways, because I really wanna show my support.”
The previous year, Osaka beat Williams in the second round, sending a signal to the tennis world of what was to come.
“We are delighted to have been honoured with the title of International Tournament of the Year in our 5th celebration year,” said tournament director Chris Lai. “It means so much that it is voted for by the players and that they enjoy coming to Hong Kong and playing here, and to win this award over more than 30 WTA International Series events in our category is a tremendous testament to the reputation the tournament has built in just a few short years and to Hong Kong as Asia’s events capital.”
The 2018 edition was the most successful in the tournament’s five-year history, with more than 71,000 fans attending matches at Victoria Park over the week.
While 18-year-old Yastremska won the singles title, China’s Zhang Shuai and Australian Samantha Stosur combined to win the doubles crown.
Among the new elements for the 2018 event was special guest and two-time grand slam champion Li Na and her celebrity exhibition match with Hong Kong entertainer Eason Chan, the relocation of the tournament village to a larger site at Victoria Park Soccer Pitch 6 and the introduction of a series of three music concerts featuring popular local artistes.