Zapopan, Jalisco. during the Zapopan Open 2022Memories of the world’s best tennis have returned to Akron Stadium and its surroundings. Two Grand Slam winners (Sloane Stephens and Emma Radocano), international fans (from the US, Spain and Colombia) and TV productions for over 100 countries set expectations back to November, when that same venue hosted the WTA Finals for the first time in A History of Latin America.
Count the time since Women’s Tennis Association Zapopan was chosen as the venue for the 2021 finals, and only five months have passed, a period in which the direction of the Akron Open, led by Gustavo Santuskoy, seized the opportunity to strengthen its ties with the great tennis institutions for survival. Elite headquarters.
“I think Guadalajara will establish itself as a destination for major events for female players on the annual calendar very soon, look at how much this place has grown in such a short period of time (since 2019), so one can only be optimistic… about what the future holds for tennis in these Al-Saha We consider ourselves full partners with the family Santoskoye“We are working alongside them and will continue to do so in the future,” Octagon Vice President Alistair Garland told El Economista.
This sports-entertainment company has been associated with the WTA for more than a decade, developing marketing strategies and also advising it on selecting specific venues for its tournaments. Thus, a pillar of the 2021 finals was the arrival in Guadalajara, as well as the fact that two of the best players they represent, Annette Kontaveit and Karolina Pliskova, were present on Guadalajara for that tournament and left with good feelings. .
Officially, hold WTA Finals It still belongs to China (Shenzhen), where they signed for 10 years of the 2019 edition, although due to the epidemic, the event has only been held in this place once, since 2020 it was canceled and in 2021 it was held in Mexico, so His stay in that country will expire from 2029 to 2031.
WTA president Steve Simon announced last October that the organization was considering returning the finals to China in 2022, which is positive news for that country after no WTA tournaments have been held there since the pandemic began.
However, the tension arising from the Peng Shuai case caused Simon and the WTA to cancel all their posts in China until further notice, demanding security guarantees to return: “Unless China takes the measures we have requested, which include a full and transparent investigation into the accusations of Ping, the WTA is not coming back The fact that China is still pending for the 2022 final is what opened the door for it Zapopan As an option for the second year in a row.
“If you look at what this venue was able to achieve in November, just two months ago, it was the largest tennis event in Latin American history, and being able to do it in such a short period of time was phenomenal. The infrastructure here is capable of hosting an event,” Garland adds. Much bigger, so that’s definitely something we’ll see in the future.
Does Octagon support Zapopan Open to move into a WTA class?
“For sure, we think it could become a very important destination and a great event in the future. I definitely think that this venue could host an event much bigger than the WTA 250, like the Finals, a gentlemen 1000 or WTA 500, it would be a good place for that. It’s still too early to say anything definitive on this point, but it’s something I can see in the future.”
This newspaper asked the WTA directly if Zapopan would host the 2022 finals, and got an answer from Senior Vice President of Global Communications, Amy Bender: “The WTA was very satisfied with the success of the finals. Guadalajara Finals. We’ve just posted more updates to our calendar and are working on our fall events. Rest assured, we will update you as soon as we have more information,” he replied via email.
The latest update of the 2022 WTA calendar was published on February 24, and features 12 tournaments between July and August. These are eight in the 250 class, two in the 1000 Masters class, one in the 500 and Grand Slam in the US. There is no headquarters in Latin America, as these competitions are in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, USA and Canada. Zapopan’s next tournament will have to wait for the tour update for the last quarter of the year.
The answer to whether the Finals will return to Zapopan at the end of 2022 is not yet clear, but the support that won the tournament from the perspective of the two women’s tennis captains: WTA and Octagon. However, the decision to raise the level depends not only on the interest of the organizers (Santuskoy family), but on other factors.
“It is admirable that Latin America always has a good reputation and tournaments from higher categories to give Latin players a chance, but in reality these are decisions in which each tournament should see its own capabilities, not only facilities, but other things. To carry out an outstanding event, you need sponsors. High-ranking gives you economic security, expands the facilities, and it employs much more than the WTA 250, because by obtaining a master’s degree 1000, for example, the number of employees is tripled. ” Cristina Romero, WTA Supervisor at the Zapopan Open 2022.
For tournament director, Gustavo Santuskoy, expectations have been set for the second half of the WTA calendar to be published in 2022, not necessarily for other finals, but for the 500 or 1000 tournament.
“I would like to comment that I see both options as very possible (to take the finals again or 500 or 1000), because we have very good negotiations with the WTA. Fortunately, the world opened up for us last year,
We can have any kind of event, but if it’s not the finals, we’ll definitely be able to hold a big one. How much time? I was hoping it was as soon as possible, but we’ll wait, because the WTA has not released the calendar for the second semester and that’s when we’ll see the situation in the world. We raise our hands.”
The WTA moderator highlighted as another point in favor of Zapopan the characteristics of his audience, who have knowledge and passion for tennis. She describes this as a factor that surprised players of the highest caliber, as Garbiñe Muguruza and Sloane Stephens commented during the awards ceremony for the 2021 and 2022 WTA 250 Finals, respectively.
“The most interesting thing for the players is the affection of the Jalisco crowd, the crowd is very educated in tennis, there are people who are dedicated to playing it and that makes a big difference, because they know tennis, they know how to appreciate good plays and that was seen in the Masters, when the public reacted in a respectful way. very much. The players appreciate that the audience responds often, and not in all countries,” Romero highlights.
According to data shared with this newspaper, the Zapopan Open left economic spills of 70 million pesos in its first edition in 2019, 300 million in the 2021 finals, and the estimate for 2022 was 80 million (official figures for this year will remain the same. Revealed. Consulting firm in London), totaling $450 million over three years.
Christina Romero concluded: “The WTA sees the Zapopan very well, and they clearly have all the support (…) Certainly the WTA, if the Zapopan wants to raise their bar, it will help them do that and achieve it.” .
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