Six world-class players confirmed for Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open 2023
HONG KONG, Sept. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Hong Kong, China Tennis Association ("HKCTA") today announced that two-time Australian Open singles champion and former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, 2023 Roland Garros singles semi-finalist Beatriz Haddad Maia, 2021 US Open singles finalist Leylah Fernandez, world No.27 Anastasia Potapova, China's rising star Wang Xiyu and fast-rising 16-year-old phenom Mirra Andreeva will headline the return of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open ("PHKTO") in October. The WTA 250 tournament will take place between 7 and 15 October at Victoria Park Tennis Stadium.(From left to right) Mr. Lam Siu Wai, member of the PHKTO 2023 Steering Committee, Mr. Oscar Chow, Chairman of the PHKTO 2023 Steering Committee, Mr. Lawrence Lam, Chief Executive Of-ficer of Prudential Hong Kong Limited, The Hon. Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, MH, JP, Vice Chairman of The Major Sports Event Committee, Mr. Philip Mok, HKCTA President, and Mr. Michael Cheng, HKCTA Hon. Secretary unveiled the six marquee players for this year’s tournament
Commenting on the player line up, HKCTA President Philip Mok said, "We are excited to celebrate the return of WTA tennis to Hong Kong with a diverse line-up of players from around the globe. As a two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1, Victoria is one of the most accomplished players on tour, while Beatriz and Leylah have shown their pedigree at the Grand Slams, Anastasia is a top-30 player, and Wang and Mirra are two very promising young stars. The international field reflects Hong Kong's status as a premier global travel and business hub and is sure to thrill and captivate tennis fans in October."
"As we relaunch the tournament in style, our sincere gratitude goes to our title sponsor, Prudential Hong Kong Limited ("Prudential") and the Hong Kong Government for their unwavering support. Their steadfast commitment has enabled us to continue developing an exceptional world class event that showcases Hong Kong on the global stage. We are delighted that the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open 2023 has been recognised as an "M" Mark event that helps enhance the image of Hong Kong as Asia's sports event capital. The "M" Mark awarded by the Major Sports Events Committee, symbolises intense, spectacular and signature events in the territory sports calendar," Mok added.
Mr. Lawrence Lam, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential, said "This year's Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open (PHKTO) marks a resumption of the event after a five-year hiatus. It returns to the Victoria Park Tennis Stadium, an intimate setting with Hong Kong as a unique backdrop, where we can feel a sense of anticipation and the spirit of this vibrant city. Prudential is hugely honoured to have supported this prestigious WTA event since 2014, and to now be bringing world-class tennis to Hong Kong once more. It is also a privilege to be the title sponsor and to welcome some of the world's leading female tennis stars for nine days of intense competition."
"We are in a celebratory mood as this year marks the 175 years since it was founded, but more importantly we are celebrating Hong Kong and all the energy it offers through this mega-event. As a trusted health protection partner for every life and every future, our partnership with the Hong Kong China Tennis Association (HKCTA) aims to inspire more people in Hong Kong to pick up a racquet and embrace a healthy, active lifestyle."
34-year-old mother-of-one Azarenka is making her first trip to Hong Kong in almost 15 years, a timespan in which she captured two Australian Open singles titles, reached the US Open final three times and rose to the world No.1 spot for 51 weeks. One of the most decorated active players on tour, Azarenka owns 21 WTA singles titles, 10 doubles titles and in mixed doubles, two Grand Slam titles & an Olympic gold medal at London 2012. In January this year she reached the Australian Open semi-finals, the 9^th Grand Slam semi-final in her storied career.
Brazilian Haddad Maia made tennis history earlier this year when she reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros, catapulting her to a place in the world's top 10, the first player from her country to do so since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. In 2022, the 6'0' southpaw and current World No.20 captured her first two WTA singles titles at back-to-back grass court events in Nottingham and Birmingham and took out world No.1 Iga Swiatek to reach her maiden WTA 1000 final in Toronto.
Canadian Leylah Fernandez made headlines worldwide in 2021 when she shocked defending champion Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, No.5 seed Elina Svitolina and No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka to make the US Open singles final (l. to Emma Raducanu) just after her 19^th birthday. In 2022, she won her second WTA singles title at Monterrey, reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and recorded a career high singles ranking of world No.13, while this year she reached the Roland Garros doubles final with Taylor Townsend. Her trademark fighting spirit and star power will be on full display as she makes her debut at Victoria Park.
22-year-old world No. 27 Anastasia Potapova had great success as a junior player, capturing the girls' title at Wimbledon in 2016 and ascending to the junior No.1 ranking. In the senior ranks she won her first WTA singles title in Istanbul in 2022, with her second following in February this year at Linz. This year she also reached the quarterfinals at the Miami 1000 and the semi-finals at the Stuttgart 500, defeating top-10 players Coco Gauff and Caroline Garcia, which helped propel her to a career high of world No.21 in June.
Fellow 22-year-old Wang Xiyu from China reached a career high of No.49 earlier this year after a 2022 that saw her reach two WTA 250 singles semi-finals in Washington and Transylvania and defeat World No.3 Maria Sakkari to reach the third round at the US Open. A former junior world No.1 player and Junior US Open singles champion, Wang has recorded wins over Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejčíková and Paula Badosa in her career and the left-hander will be gunning for her maiden WTA singles title in Hong Kong.
16-year-old Mirra Andreeva made the tennis world take notice in April with statement wins over 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and top-20 players Beatriz Haddad Maia & Magda Linette at the Madrid 1000 event. Even more impressively, she then made the third round of the French Open as a qualifier before becoming the youngest player since Coco Gauff to reach the Wimbledon fourth round, eliminating No.10 seed Barbora Krejčíková enroute. Few teenage prospects in sport right now have generated as much interest as Andreeva as she makes her debut in Hong Kong.
The tournament also announced that Hong Kong's top two players, Eudice Chong and Cody Wong will take part in the tournament. Both players have delivered impressive results in the past few seasons, capturing a staggering 22 ITF Women's World Tennis Tour doubles titles combined since 2021, 11 of them as a team. They have also excelled in singles with both near their career high rankings and Eudice comfortably within the World's top 250 and Cody just outside of the top 300. Cody recently brought home a bronze medal at the World University Games in Chengdu, partnering with Coleman Wong in the mixed doubles event.
Tournament Director and HKCTA CEO Chris Lai commented, "Eudice and Cody have been making great strides on the professional tours over the past few years and we are delighted they will have the opportunity to compete at the WTA level in front of their home fans. They will be sure to gain great experience to further their careers while providing inspiration to the next generation of local players."
The popular local band 'Dear Jane' were on hand at the press conference to reveal details of this year's Tournament Village and activities this year, which reflect its tagline of "Celebrating Greatness." Located adjacent to Victoria Park Tennis Stadium, the free-entry village will boast a colourful design, offering a host of tennis themed activities including a mini-tennis court with coaching clinics and demonstrations, a serve speed booth and tennis game booths suitable for all ages. Prudential's booth at the Tournament Village will feature alluring tennis games and photo opportunities and fans can meet their favourite players at the autograph booth. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments whilst enjoying a live broadcast of the matches on the giant video screen.
As part of the celebration of its 6^th edition, this year the tournament is also collaborating with two artists to create unique PHKTO merchandise items that integrate culture and sport. The limited-edition items will be designed by renowned Polish artist Mateusz Kolek and a local artist from Ztoryteller and will be available for purchase in the Tournament Village.
Once again fans will be able to watch the matches on Monday 9^th October ("People's Monday) with free entry. All qualifying matches on 7 and 8 October and main draw matches on Court 1 and Court 2 during the week will also be open to the public free of charge. There is also free-admission to matches for full-time students on Tuesday 10 October as part of "Student's Tuesday."
PHKTO Steering Committee Chairman Oscar Chow said, "To mark the return of PHKTO after five years as well as celebrate Prudential's landmark 175^th anniversary and the 50^th anniversary of the WTA, we are delighted to bring both tennis fans and the general public a week packed with entertainment. PHKTO is committed to bringing the tournament to the community and engaging people of all different ages and backgrounds with something for everyone, making tennis more accessible to all and developing sporting culture and grassroots participation in the city. We look forward to families and people of all ages coming down and enjoying the activities on offer."
Now TV was also announced as the Official Host Broadcaster of PHKTO 2023. All Centre Court matches will be broadcast live on Now Sports Channel 634 with selected matches broadcast on the free-to-air channels ViuTVsix and ViuTV Channel 99 during the week. Additional matches on Court 1 will be broadcast on Now Sports Channel 631, offering sports fans a wide array of matches and channels to watch across the tournament week.
Tickets for 10-15 October can be purchased online at Hong Kong Ticketing (premier.hkticketing.com) with prices ranging from HK$160 to HK$970. More information can be found at the Tournament's official website www.hktennisopen.hk.
*About Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open
*The Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open is a WTA sanctioned 250 Series Event, returning for its sixth edition in 2023. Owned by the Hong Kong Tennis Association, the Tournament is supported by the Hong Kong Government, alongside Title Sponsor Prudential Hong Kong Limited. The Tournament is a community sports event with the goals of engaging people from all walks of life and fostering a passion for sport and physical activity in the region. More than 50 of the world's best female players will compete in singles and doubles for prize money of US$250,000 from 7 to 15 October 2023 at the iconic Victoria Park Stadium in the heart of the city.
For more information, please visit:
*About the WTA
*Celebrating its 50^th anniversary this year, the WTA is the global leader in women's professional sports. The WTA is one of the world's most recognizable and high-profile sports organizations, consisting of more than 1650 players representing approximately 85 nations, all competing to earn WTA rankings points and prestigious tournament titles. The WTA Tour comprises of over 50 events and four Grand Slams, spanning six continents and nearly 30 countries and regions with a global audience of over 700 million. Further information on the WTA can be found at www.wtatennis.com.
*About Prudential Hong Kong Limited
*Prudential has been serving the people of Hong Kong since 1964. Through Prudential Hong Kong Limited and Prudential General Insurance Hong Kong Limited, we provide a range of financial planning services and products including individual life insurance, investment-linked insurance, retirement solutions, health and medical protection, general insurance and employee benefits.
Prudential plc provides life and health insurance and asset management in 24 markets across Asia and Africa. The business helps people get the most out of life, by making healthcare affordable and accessible and by promoting financial inclusion. Prudential protects people's wealth, helps them grow their assets, and empowers them to save for their goals. The business is listed on stock exchanges in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York. It is also a constituent of the Hang Seng Composite Index and is also included for trading in the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect programme.
Prudential is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc., a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America, nor with The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, a subsidiary of M&G plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.
Please visit www.prudential.com.hk for more information.
*About Hong Kong, China Tennis Association (HKCTA)
*The HKTA is a non-profit organization formed in 1909 with over 4,000 individual members and recognised by both the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). HKCTA's objectives are to promote tennis to all, to nurture talented players to compete at a regional and international level, and to raise the standard of the game in Hong Kong. To meet its objectives, HKTA organises a number of local and international tennis tournaments as well as grassroots, junior and elite development programs, inter-club leagues, coaching certification courses and a Tennis-For-All open enrollment programme. For more information, please visit www.tennishk.org.