WTA CEO & Chair Stacey Allaster Hails Li Na For Sport's Growth In Asia
WTA CEO & Chair STACEY ALLASTER hailed LI NA's "rise as a key factor behind the growth of women's tennis in Asia," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. ZHANG SHUAI "became the fifth Chinese women to win a WTA title when the wildcard triumphed at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday," and Allaster hailed the world No. 5 Li "for her continued efforts in building the sport." Allaster: "The athlete that will make the greatest impact on the growth of women's tennis in this decade. You can have a strategy with multi-thronged pillars but you need the stars and Li is obviously our star here in Asia." China's appetite for tennis "seems only growing, with Allaster saying a huge chunk of their fans were coming from the country where the WTA will have eight events next year" (REUTERS, 9/24). ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon wrote "as China's economy has grown and trade has increased, the nation has also invested in its presence on the international sporting scene." Hosting tennis tournaments has been "a significant part of that effort." Also, "a growing cadre of Chinese players on the women's tour has helped capture the attention of the general public," which became a "full-blown frenzy" when Li became the first Chinese player to win a singles Grand Slam title at the French Open in '11. Allaster: "We haven't even begun to realize the opportunity of China and Southeast Asia" (ESPN, 9/24).