The WTA Finals (formerly known as the WTA Tour Championships short: WTA Championships) is a tournament of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) played annually at the end of the season for the top-ranked professional players. The tournament predates WTA and started in 1972 as the Championship tournament of WTA Tour's predecessor: the Virginia Slims Circuit. Since 2003 there have been eight singles players divided into two round-robin groups, and eight doubles teams.
|Location||Shenzhen, China (2019–2028)|
|Venue||Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre|
|Surface||Hard - indoors|
|Draw||8S / 8D (since 2014)|
|Prize money||$14,000,000 (2019)|
|Current champions (2019)|
|Women's singles||Ashleigh Barty|
|Women's doubles|| Tímea Babos |
The WTA Finals is unofficially considered the fifth most prestigious WTA Tour event of a season after the four Grand Slam tournaments. It also has the largest prize money and ranking points after the majors. The most successful finals player is Martina Navratilova, who has won eight singles and 13 doubles titles.
To qualify for the WTA Finals, WTA players compete throughout the year in over 53 WTA tournaments throughout the world, as well as the four Grand Slam events. Players earn ranking points on the Porsche Race To Shenzhen leaderboard, and the top 7 singles players (and usually top 8) and top 8 doubles teams on this leaderboard at the conclusion of the year (as of the Monday following the final regular season tournament) earn the right to compete in the WTA Championships. For singles, all results from that year count towards a player's ranking; for doubles, only the best 11 results for a team from that year count towards the team's ranking. The eighth spot in singles is not guaranteed a place in the finals as the WTA has some leeway per the WTA rules.
Qualified players participate in a round-robin format in two groups of four. The winners and runners-up of each group advance to the semifinals. Doubles teams participate in a single elimination draw.
The championships were held for the first time in October 1972 in Boca Raton, Florida (USA) as a climactic event at the end of a series of tournaments sponsored by Virginia Slims, called the Virginia Slims Circuit. From 1972 to 1974, the event was held in October, before switching to March from 1975 until 1986. The WTA then decided to adopt a January–November playing season, and so the event was switched to being held at the end of each year. As a consequence, there were two championships held in 1986.
The event was held in Los Angeles, California from 1974 to 1976 before moving to Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1977. With the exception of a one-year move to Oakland, California in 1978, the Championships remained at MSG until 2000. The event then briefly moved to Munich, Germany in 2001. More recently, it moved back to Los Angeles from 2002 to 2005. The 2006 and 2007 editions were held in Madrid, Spain. Doha, Qatar hosted the 2008–2010 editions before passing the flag to Istanbul, Turkey, which hosted the 2011–2013 editions. For the right to host the 2014 edition and beyond, 43 cities expressed an interest before a short list comprising Kazan, Russia; Mexico City, Mexico; Singapore; and Tianjin, China was drawn up in late 2012. Kazan and Mexico City were ruled out in early 2013, before Singapore was announced in May 2013 as the new host city for five years.
From 1984–1998, the final of the championships was a best-of-five-sets match, making it the only tournament on the women's tour to have had a best-of-five match at any round of the competition. It was the first time since the 1901 U.S. National Championships that the best-of-five format was used in women's matches. In 1999, the final reverted to being a best-of-three-sets match. From the 2014 edition the doubles draw was increased from four to eight teams.
The singles winner of the tournament since 2014 receives the Billie Jean King Trophy.
The event has a more than 40-year history of corporate sponsorship with the finals named after the sponsoring company.
|1972–1978||Virginia Slims||Virginia Slims Championships|
|1983–1994||Virginia Slims||Virginia Slims Championships|
|1995||None||WTA Tour Championships|
|2002||The Home Depot||Home Depot Championships|
|2003||Bank of America||Bank of America WTA Tour Championships|
|2004||None||WTA Tour Championships|
|2005–2010||Sony Ericsson||Sony Ericsson Championships|
|2011–2013||BNP Paribas and Türk Ekonomi Bankası||TEB–BNP Paribas WTA Championships Istanbul|||
|2014–2018||BNP Paribas and SC Global||BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global|||
|2019–2028||Shiseido||Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen|||
|1974–1976||Los Angeles||Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena||Carpet||14,800|
|1977||New York City||Madison Square Garden||Carpet||18,000|
|1979–2000||New York City||Madison Square Garden||Carpet||18,000|
|2002–2005||Los Angeles||Staples Center||Hard (i)||17,000|
|2006–2007||Madrid||Madrid Arena||Hard (i)||10,500|
|2008–2010||Doha||Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex||Hard||6,911|
|2011–2013||Istanbul||Sinan Erdem Dome||Hard (i)||16,410|
|2014–2018||Singapore||Singapore Indoor Stadium||Hard (i)||10,000|
|2019–2028*||Shenzhen||Shenzhen Bay Sports Center||Hard (i)||12,000|
List of finalsEdit
Final appearances by countryEdit
- 1 — March
- 2 — November
Final appearances by playerEdit
|Player||Years won||Runner-up||No. of finals|
|/ Martina Navratilova||8||1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 19861, 19862||6||1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1991, 1992||14|
|Serena Williams||5||2001, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014||2||2002, 2004||7|
|Steffi Graf||5||1987, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996||1||19862||6|
|Chris Evert||4||1972, 1973, 1975, 1977||4||1974, 1976, 1983, 1984||8|
|/ Monica Seles||3||1990, 1991, 1992||1||2000||4|
|Kim Clijsters||3||2002, 2003, 2010||0||3|
|Gabriela Sabatini||2||1988, 1994||2||1987, 1990||4|
|Martina Hingis||2||1998, 2000||2||1996, 1999||4|
|Evonne Goolagong Cawley||2||1974, 1976||1||1978||3|
|Justine Henin||2||2006, 2007||0||2|
|Lindsay Davenport||1||1999||3||1994, 1998, 2001||4|
|Amélie Mauresmo||1||2005||2||2003, 2006||3|
|Maria Sharapova||1||2004||2||2007, 2012||3|
|Venus Williams||1||2008||2||2009, 2017||3|
|Mary Pierce||0||2||1997, 2005||2|
|Kerry Melville Reid||0||1||1972||1|
|Nancy Richey Gunter||0||1||1973||1|
|Arantxa Sánchez Vicario||0||1||1993||1|
- 1 — March
- 2 — November
- "BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global – Tournament Info". WTA Tour. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
- "WTA re-launches year-end Championships as WTA Finals" (PDF). www.wtatennis.com. May 27, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 6, 2014.
- "WTA Finals and WTA Elite Trophy rules" (PDF).
- "TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup" (PDF). WTA Tour.
- "2011 Calendar Announced". WTA Tour. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "WTA narrows 2014 Championships host field to three finalists" (PDF). www.wtatennis.com. WTA. 29 January 2013.
- "Three cities still in running to host WTA Championships". www.wtatennis.com. WTA.
- "WTA picks Singapore to host its tennis Championships from 2014". BBC News. 8 May 2013.
- "40 Love History: Five Set Finals". Women's Tennis Association (WTA). 18 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 August 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "It's the Way It's (Almost) Always Been". New York Times. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Billie Jean King Named Official Ambassador of WTA Finals in Singapore" (PDF). www.wtatennis.com. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). 30 June 2014.
- "Tennis-BNP Paribas extends WTA Championship sponsorship". Reuters. Singapore. 11 March 2014.
- "Shiseido signs on as title sponsor of WTA Finals Shenzhen". wtatennis.com. Shenzhen. 23 July 2019.
- Michael Long (17 January 2018). "WTA Finals to relocate from Singapore to Shenzhen". SportsPro.
- Danielle Rossingh (21 January 2018). "China's Li Na-Inspired Tennis Revolution Gathers Pace With Record WTA Deal". Forbes.