BBC to be honored for commitment to tennis at The Legends Ball

NEWPORT, R.I., September 6, 2012 – With US Open finals weekend just around the corner, so is The Legends Ball, the annual gala celebration of tennis hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The event will gather hundreds of tennis enthusiasts, industry leaders, and stars of the sport, including recent retiree Kim Clijsters and legends like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, and more, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The Legends Ball will pay tribute to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2012- Jennifer Capriati, Gustavo Kuerten, Manuel Orantes, Mike Davies, and Randy Snow, and it will recognize one individual and one organization that have shown an exceptional commitment to the growth of the sport. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award, which is presented to an organization, will be awarded to the BBC, which has delivered an outstanding year of tennis coverage, including Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympic Games, and is in their 85th year of covering the sport. BBC Sport’s tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend will be at the event to accept the award. It was previously announced that the other award of the evening, the Eugene L. Scott Award, will be awarded to Chris Evert and presented by Billie Jean King.

 

The Cullman Award is given in honor of the man who served as president and chairman of the Hall of Fame from 1982-1988, and recognizes an exceptional company that shares Cullman’s enthusiasm for tennis and has also made a significant contribution to society at large- both philanthropically and through outstanding generosity of spirit.

 

“The BBC has been a dedicated broadcast partner to the sport of tennis for a remarkable 85 years. In recent months they’ve delivered extraordinary coverage of Wimbledon, as well as some of the most exciting Olympic tennis the world has ever experienced. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Legends Ball is an opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding contributors to the sport of tennis who have played an instrumental role in its growth. We are so pleased to present the Cullman Award to the BBC to say thank you for all they’ve done to spread tennis news and deliver its most important moments to the fans,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

 

The BBC brought tennis to the airwaves of Great Britain in 1927, with the first radio coverage of Wimbledon. This contract with the All England Lawn Tennis Club continues today- making it the longest running multiplatform rights contract in world sport.

 

The BBC has always strived to bring technological innovation to tennis- the first ever live television coverage of a sports event (1937), first color TV broadcast (1967), first use of Hawkeye in tennis, first multi-platform coverage, and in 2011, the first ever 3D transmission on the BBC. As host broadcaster at Wimbledon, the BBC currently brings live coverage of the event from nine courts, producing over 900 hours of tennis coverage distributed to 160 countries. Over the years, many great voices of the sport have delivered BBC’s coverage, including Dan Maskell, “The Voice of Tennis” for BBC from 1949 -1991, John Barratt, Bill Threlfall, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. Today’s team is led by Sue Barker and includes John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lindsay Davenport, Virginia Wade, Tracy Austin, John Lloyd, Pat Cash, and Tim Henman.

 

As well as Wimbledon, the BBC covered many World Championship Tennis tour events throughout the 1970’s, and has been the host broadcaster for Olympic tennis from Atlanta, Athens, and London, with live coverage everyday from the 2012 Olympics. Over the years the BBC has covered all the Grand Slams with many years at the French and Australian Opens. Additional tennis coverage has included annual tournaments such as Queens, Eastbourne, and Bournemouth, as well as Davis Cup, Wightman Cup, the ATP World Tour Finals, and the Masters events from The Royal Albert Hall.

 

Today’s multi-platform coverage includes the Wimbledon Championships, as well as the Australian Open Finals, the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals, and the AEGON Championshpis at Queen’s Club on television. BBC Radio 5 Live has commentary from all four Grand Slams, all the key ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, and Wimbledon warm-up events, plus key Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties. News and reports throughout the year across BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC news channel, and BBC sport online round out the tennis coverage.
Previous recipients of the Cullman Award have been: BNP Paribas (2006); Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc. (2007); Sony Ericsson (2008); Tennis Channel (2009); Mercedes-Benz (2010); and Campbell Soup Company (2011).

 

An impressive collection of tennis greats will be in attendance at the Legends Ball, including current players, Hall of Famers, executive leaders from the ATP World Tour, WTA, ITF, and Grand Slam tournaments and tennis fans from around the world. In celebration of their Hall of Fame Induction, which occurred in July, speaking programs and video presentations will pay tribute to former world No. 1’s Jennifer Capriati and Gustavo Kuerten, Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, tennis industry innovator and promoter Mike Davies, and the late wheelchair tennis champion, Randy Snow.

 

Always a highlight of the evening, The Legends Ball silent auction will feature an array of exclusive experiences and luxury items that will excite tennis fans and non-tennis fans alike. Among the items up for bid are exclusive tickets for the finals of all four tennis majors in 2013, luxurious vacation packages to the Caribbean and Europe, tennis camps for juniors and adults, including a week of instruction at esteemed academies like the Chris Evert Tennis Academy and Ivan Lendl’s International Junior Tennis Academy, and exclusive tickets to events including the Grammy Awards and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

 

Proceeds of The Legends Ball, which has been held annually since 1980, will benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and support the mission of preserving the history of the game, honoring the legends and inspiring the future.

 

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about The Legends Ball, call 401-849-3990 or email mforts@tennisfame.com.

 

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About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive Museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 225 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport’s summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners including BNP Paribas, Chubb Personal Insurance, Kia Motors and Rolex Watch USA. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.

Maria Opens Up

FLUSHING MEADOWS – Maria Sharapova is back to being the front on star of tennis. She is crushing her opponents, while acting like the starlet we all know and love.

After she dispatched Mallory Burdette today – in a match where she thought she would be booed – the 25 year-old started to reflect on her career with the up and comers, like Laura Robson and Sloane Stephens making names for themselves, while Kim Clijsters is retiring to motherhood.

“Well, I’ll tell you, when I was 18 or 19, if someone told me I was going to be playing at 25, which was seven years from then, I’d be like, Stop, this is ridiculous.  You’re crazy,” she said.  “But here I am at 25 years old.  Although I didn’t play for nine, ten months in my career, I’m 25, and I feel like I have so many more years left.  I still wake up in the morning and feel like I can be better and motivated.  I have energy and I’m healthy.”

And she has a legit chance to win her second US Open and start on a second career slam, after winning the French Open this year to gain her first. After being injured with a bad shoulder, Sharapova looked like a has been in recent years, but the strength and skill has returned.

That makes for interesting topics from the mercurial Russian, who at times can seem somewhat arrogant. But that’s her nature and she doesn’t mean to be mean.

In fact she had some kind words to say about her competitors and because of her experience; Sharapova offers some unique insight about each of them.

First there’s Robson , who Sharapova said she knew for years.

“Laura was someone who was obviously throughout the years ‑ I think she won junior Wimbledon, and she’s someone that I think a lot of people expected to do well at an early age,” Sharapova said. “I mean, this is definitely her breakthrough tournament, her breakthrough Grand Slam where she’s been playing extremely well.

“I’ve practiced with her a few times.  Played her at the Olympics and last year at Wimbledon.  She has a big game, and also a lefty, which adds to her strength.”

And then there is Stephens, the young American who many have been comparing to the next coming of Venus Williams. Stephens is the daughter of former NFL running back John Stephens who played for the New England Patriots.

“I played against her in Miami,” Sharapova said.   “I don’t remember the score, but she’s a great athlete.  Moves so well.  I watched a little bit of her match yesterday.  She’s a great fighter and, you know, was able to come back from that match.

“Obviously that’s the newer generation, and I’m somewhere in the middle there. “

Sharapova also had kind words to say about Clijsters, who was sent home by Robson on Wednesday and into retirement.

“I was very fortunate to play a lot of matches against Kim and follow her career,” she said.   “I mean, she was such a great athlete, a great competitor.  We always had really tough battles against each other. It was amazing to see her career unfold.  The way she came back after, you know, becoming a mom and having that dedication and, you know, that fire again, it was pretty incredible.

“It showed how much she loved the sport and how much passion she had for it.”

With all of this going on – and let’s not forget Andy Roddick – it’s easy to forget Sharapova, but she easily won her first three matches, especially today against Burdette, 6-1 6-1.

Seeded No. 3, Sharapova is feeling pretty good about herself.

“I didn’t know too much going into this event because I hadn’t played on hard in a few months,” Sharapova said.   “I think that made me extra focused, and I wanted to really get going from the beginning and be aggressive.

“Yeah, took a little bit of a break after Wimbledon and went home.  I think I kind of recharged a little bit.  Certainly feel a lot more energy than I did maybe after the French.”

She’s going to be tough and someone to watch out for next week.

Laura Robson, the Surprise of the Open

FLUSHING, NY – Move over Andy Murray, there’s a new Brit in town.

Laura Robson has become the feel good story at this Open, after she won her third round against Na Li, 6-4 6-7 6-2 to advance to the fourth round.

And this comes after she sent Kim Clijsters into retirement.

Call her the Giant killer.

“When the draw first came out I wasn’t really looking past the first round,” the 18 year-old said. “ And then, you know, when I heard that I was playing Li Na after I played Kim, I didn’t really think anything.  I just knew that it was going to be an extremely tough match, which it was, and that she’s a great player.

“So I knew I had to play well; that’s what I did.”

So far in 2012, Robson seemed to take a step back. After making the second round last year at Wimbledon and the Open, she was one and done at the other majors this year.

But that isn’t stopping her here.

She fought Clijsters in straight sets, 7-6(4) 7-6(5), in the second round, sending the three time US Open champion into full time motherhood.

And now she took down Li, who was seeded ninth at the Open and many expected to make the second week.

“I have had a fairly tough draw, haven’t I?” she asked with a smile. “Well, you know, you have to beat who is in front of you.  That’s what I managed to do so far.  I think I play [Sam] Stosur now, who is defending champ.  That’s going to be really tough.  I’ve never played her before, so, you know, I’m going to just work hard tomorrow and recover as best as I can for the next one.”

Ah yes, the defending champ. That would be a tough matchup, but they said that about Clijsters and Li. In today’s match, Robson easily took the first set and then lost a tie break in the second to give Li life, even though she was up 3-1 at one point in the breaker.

Then in the third, she took control with a 6-2 cruising, putting her on the map. The funny thing she never gets down on herself, which many 18 year-olds do.

“I’m only 18, so if I was that negative, you know, last year or a year ago, then who knows what I’m going to be like in a few years,” Robson said. “But, no, I have always thought that I can play with the top girls.  Whenever I’ve practiced with, you know, Caroline or Maria, I’ve always felt that the level was there.

“It was just taking that onto the match court and keeping the level up for the whole match.  That’s what I have worked on.  Yeah, that’s been the biggest difference.”

Well maybe Murray can give her pointers now on handling on the British press. Well on second thought, the way she took care of them today, she will do just fine.

Family Comes First For Kim

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Cross Sports Journalist off the list of potential careers for Kim Clijsters. When asked tonight, she gave a very quick, no.

“I definitely read the press in my first few years that I was on tour, and then I completely ignored the press,” Clijsters said.  Also because positive, negative, I didn’t want it to get to me.  It did when I was younger whether there was negative press, positive press.”

Well she will have plenty of time to decide after her second round loss to Brittan’s Laura Robson, 7-6 7-6, because that’s it for the three-time US Open Champion as she calls it a career.

“Now that I’m almost completely finished, you think about when I first stepped on tour, you know and met Steffi Graf and Monica Seles,” she said.  “First in Belgium when I was able to practice in a tennis center against Sabine Appelmans and Dominique Monami.

“It’s been an incredible journey, and a lot of dreams for me have come true because of tennis.  As a little girl, I got tennis racquets under the tree and outfits of Steffi Graf and Monica Seles and I would want to wear them to bed I was so excited.

“So for me to have been able to have been a part of women’s tennis, and on top of women’s tennis for so many years, now that I think back ‑‑ you know, you don’t think about it when you’re in it.  You’re kind of on automatic pilot.  You don’t think about those things anyway.

“Now that I think about it, it’s been a crazy rollercoaster at times, as well.  All of a sudden when you’re 15, you kind of get thrown in the spotlight, you go through puberty in the spotlight, you have your first boyfriend in the spotlight, you know, everything.

“It’s not just the tennis side of things that you think about now, it’s about life.  We’ve had a lot of things happen in these last 15 years that I’ve been on tour.  I’m able to look back at them, and I’m very happy with the progress that I’ve made.”

And what a career it has been. Three US Open Champions (2005, 2009, 2010), one Australian Open Championship (2011) and two French Open Finals (2001, 2003) and add to that two doubles majors at the French and Wimbledon in 2003. She, of course retied once and came back looking better than ever.

More importantly, though she goes out on her terms, as she retires for the second and final (we think) time.

She is obviously an all-time great up there with her contemporaries like the Williams sisters and Justine Henin, and and even can be compared with  her idols like Graf and Seles, who inspired her to become a tennis player.

“I hate to lose,” she said. “ My husband and I, we play ping‑pong in our garage and I don’t even want to give him a point.  I hate to lose, but I’m very aware or I understand and appreciate when you have an opponent who’s playing really well and plays good tennis.

“I always try to be better than my opponent.  I always try to find a solution to try and win a match, but I was also aware or understood that, you know, players can be better than you on the day.

“Losses have always motivated me more to go back.  I have a little gym in my basement downstairs.  Even when I was supposed to take a few days off, I would go into the gym and just run and do intervals and workouts to try and be better next time after a loss.”

But not this time. With her daughter Jada getting older and going to school, the travelling is just too much. Clijsters wants to be a good mother and there for her child while growing up. It makes it difficult to do that and go out on tour.

That’s may be her greatest legacy. The wins are one thing, but to balance being a mother, staying in shape after giving birth and coming back even stronger puts her in the echelon of Margaret Court.

“When I hear it, it is special, and I feel proud that I was able to win a slam as a mother, just because I know how much work it took after I had Jada to get back physically, tennis‑wise, and mentally to get back into the sport,” she mused.

“On the other hand, I never thought about that when I was playing.  You know, there were moments that it was hard.  Especially when I first started coming on tour it was hard to find the balance between figuring out ‑‑ when I was home, I was still working out, practicing hard, but I was 100% mom.

“If Jada was sick, I would call up and say, I need to be home now.  During a tournament, I can’t call the tournament director and say, Hey, can you move my match because I need to be home for Jada or something.

“Again, you know, you have a team that you work with.  Nicole, our nanny, has been maybe the most important member of our team because she’s given me so much comfort knowing that my daughter was with somebody I trust.

“When I want Brian to watch me play, Jada is with her.  Whether they’re in the hotel or sitting somewhere in the stadium, it’s so comforting knowing that she’s okay.  Knowing that, that’s when I’m able to play tennis and go to practice.  It got a little bit easier for me to leave home when she started going to school because I didn’t have to feel that guilty of leaving her behind when I had to go to practice.

“It’s been tough at times, too.  As a mother, you feel guilty if something happens that you can’t be there, good things or bad things.  Unfortunately, those kind of things have been there.

“On the other hand, I know with our lifestyle I’m maybe more with her than parents who work hard and who work from 9:00 to 5:00.

“But, yeah, I think as a parent you always feel like you miss out on things or feel a little bit guilty and you want to do better and be the perfect parent.”

That’s why she is leaving. She was smart enough to know the window was closing to play professional tennis and now her life becomes her family.

At the age of 29, she made the smartest decision of them all, to be a full time mother.

She will be missed at the Open.

 

 

 

 

Serena’s Antics Will Get Her In Trouble

Flushing Meadows, NY – When we last saw Serena Williams step foot in the Borough of Queens, she threatened a line judge with her racket after committing a foot fault, ultimately forfeiting her Semifinal Match against Kim Clijsters in 2009.

The incident cost her around $95,000 in fines and also put her on probation for the 2010 and 2011 US Opens.

She didn’t play last year due to a foot injury, so that made her first round matchup last night against Bojana Jovanowski her first appearance in the 718 area code since the foot fault heard around the world.

Even though she is a low seed (28th due to injuries), this is still Serena Williams so of course she cruised to a 6-1 6-1 victory.

But it’s not a Serena match without some controversy. Last night the Open set her match as the late start, so she had to wait three hours for Rafael Nadal to win his round. And of course Williams couldn’t hold her tongue about it.

“No, I think the guys should play second,” she said. “They’re guys. We’re ladies. We’re ladies. They should totally play second all the time. Ladies, you open the door for ladies. They should go second. It’s ridiculous.”

Before last year’s Open, the ladies always went first, but then in 2010 the Open decided to mix up the matches with some nights having the men in the leadoff spot.

It’s pretty obvious why this is done – money. With the Open taking ESPN’s money, they have become slaves to what the networks want to see in primetime. ESPN’s ratings are dictated by the Eastern Time Zone, which is the most populous part of the United States. Prime time is 8 pm to 10 pm, so you can understand why the network will want the biggest ratings grabber for its first match.

So when it came down to the defending US Open Men’s champion and international star, or Serena, whose first round matchup was a mockery then you can understand what would go first.

Frankly, Serena will be more than glad to take all the prize money from the Open – equal prize money with the men for that matter – so she should sometimes bite the bullet for the bigger and better matches.

With the spotlight on her this year and the zero tolerance policy she has with the Open after two years ago, Serena should just keep her head down and play the game.

The bottom line is this Serena got off easy two years ago, but if anything happens this year then she will probably face harsher sanctions from tennis’s governing bodies.

Wozniacki Determined At This Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Caroline Wozniacki now has a real challenge. Not only does she have the tough task of winning her first major and not only is expectations sky high for her at this US Open, the Great Dane also has to keep up with her boyfriend US Golf Open Champion Rory McIlroy.

“Definitely trying to keep up,” she said with that sunshine smile. “I’ll definitely do my best, but I still have six tough matches to go, so it will not be easy.

“You know, he has something I’m looking for and I have something he’s looking for.  He wants to be No. 1.  So it’s good to have something on each other.”

With the field wide open this year with Kim Clijsters out of the tournament, this may be the 21 year-old’s year to win the Open. Of course when you have played at a high level over the past few years and not captured a major crown, questions do arise about the ability to take it all even a player has been ranked No. 1 for the past 46 weeks.

But Wozniacki doesn’t seem to be phased by the questions. In fact see seems amused.

“I won six tournaments this year already,” she said. “You know, I should definitely not be complaining.  I’m in a good position.  I’m in a good spot.  I’m happy, healthy, and I can go out there and compete.  That’s what’s most important.

“I’m winning a lot of matches, which is why we practice.  We practice to win.  Yeah, I’ve won a lot of matches, and that’s what satisfies me.”

But a US Open win would be the ultimate for the Danish Princess. And to accomplish that she considered hiring Martina Navratilova as her coach, but took on a male mystery coach for these two weeks.

She’s not revealing who that person could be.

“Yeah, well, I have to respect him as well,” she said.  “So if he wants to be in the background and not have his name out, I have to respect that. He’s been watching me play and telling me a few things.  It’s good.  It’s working well.”

It’s seems to be working for Wozniacki as she comes off her fourth straight title in New Haven. It’s an event she particularly enjoys because of the similar age bracket of the students moving in to Yale.

“It felt very good being there,” she said.  “I think that’s why I play well there.  There are a lot of young people around, a lot going on.  It’s nice to see them move into their dorms with their mattresses.  It’s definitely a cool feeling.  It feels like you’re part of it actually the week that you’re there.  Definitely.”

Today when she disposed unseeded Llagostera Vives in straight sets, 6-3 6-1, she had the same confidence she exuded in Connecticut last week. Something she hopes holds throughout the Open.

“They can say what they want,” she said.  “I’m the type of player I am.  I’ve won a lot of tournaments.  I’m No. 1 in the world, and of course I can still improve.  There are a lot of things to my game I can still improve, but everyone can.

“You know, I’m on the right track.  I just go out there and I play the way I do, and, you know, hopefully that’s good enough.”

Well, she has to keep Rory happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI REGAINS WTA WORLD NO.1 RANKING

DUBAI – By reaching the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Caroline Wozniacki will return to the top of the WTA Rankings on Monday, February 21, 2011.  Wozniacki will surpass the current WTA World No.1 Kim Clijsters who ascended to the top of the rankings last week for the fourth time in her career.  Wozniacki is projected to hold the top spot for at least four weeks through March 20, 2011.  In addition to finishing the 2010 season as the World No.1 ranked player, she held the top ranking for a total of 18 consecutive weeks prior to being overtaken by Clijsters.

Only the 10th player to end the season as the World No.1 since the WTA ranking system was introduced in 1975, Wozniacki became the first player from Denmark to reach the top ranking.  Wozniacki had a career-best season in 2010, capturing a WTA-leading six titles including the China Open (Beijing), the Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo), and the Rogers Cup (Montreal).  She also won the MPS Group Championships (Ponte Vedra Beach), the e-Boks Sony Ericsson Open, the Pilot Pen Tennis at Yale (New Haven) and reached the final of the year-end WTA Championships, falling to Clijsters in three sets.  Playing her first Grand Slam as a World No.1, Wozniacki reached the semifinals of the Australian Open earlier this year, losing to China’s Li Na.

TOTAL WEEKS AT WTA WORLD NO.1

PLAYER DATE REACHED No.1 WEEKS*
Steffi Graf (GER) August 17, 1987 377
Martina Navratilova (TCH/USA) July 10, 1978 332
Chris Evert (USA) November 3, 1975 260
Martina Hingis (SUI) March 31, 1997 209
Monica Seles (YUG/USA) March 11, 1991 178
Serena Williams (USA) July 8, 2002 123
Justine Henin (BEL) October 20, 2003 117
Lindsay Davenport (USA) October 12, 1998 98
Amélie Mauresmo (FRA) September 13, 2004 39
Dinara Safina (RUS) April 20, 2009 26
Tracy Austin (USA) April 7, 1980 21
Kim Clijsters (BEL) August 11, 2003 20
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) October 11, 2010 19
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) August 11, 2008 18
Jennifer Capriati (USA) October 15, 2001 17
Maria Sharapova (RUS) August 22, 2005 17
Ana Ivanovic (SRB) June 9, 2008 12
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (ESP) February 6, 1995 12
Venus Williams (USA) February 25, 2002 11
Evonne Goolagong (AUS) April 26, 1976 2

Chart as of February 21, 2011 / * Total weeks at No.1; can be non-consecutive

10 Players, 10 Countries in New WTA Rankings

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the global leader in women’s professional sport, announced today that for the first time in its history, the Top 10 rankings will feature ten players from ten different countries around the world.  Eleven different nations are represented among the top 11 spots, and 30 different countries among the top 60 ranked players.

The WTA Top 10 Rankings for week of January 31, 2011, released earlier today, are as follows:

1.       Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

2.       Kim Clijsters (BEL)

3.       Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

4.       Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

5.       Samantha Stosur (AUS)

6.       Venus Williams (USA)

7.       Li Na (CHN)

8.       Jelena Jankovic (SRB)

9.       Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

10.     Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

Shahar Peer reaches a career-high ranking of World No.11, a record for a player from Israel.  Francesca Schiavone becomes the first player from Italy to break into the Top 5 while Kim Clijsters of Belgium ascends to World No.2 for the first time since August 2006.  After making history at the Australian Open by reaching the ladies’ singles final, Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to ascend to a career-high ranking of World No.7.  Li Na’s success in Australia promises to have an exponential impact on the growth of women’s tennis in China, the world’s most populous country.

“Our players are inspirational national heroes who transcend sport in their respective countries.  Having ten different players represent the Top 10 rankings shows how truly global tennis has become,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.

The WTA’s calendar for the 2011 season features 53 tournaments and four Grand Slams in 32 countries including 23 events in Europe, 16 in the Americas and 18 in Asia.  The 2012 calendar will feature 54 events, four Grand Slams and the Olympic Tennis Event, with the geographic spread of events to include 20 in Asia, 23 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.  In 2013, the WTA Calendar will showcase 54 WTA events and the four Grand Slams, with 20 events in Asia, 22 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.