18-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova and 5-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis have confirmed they will play at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre exclusively for the World Tennis Challenge (WTC) in Adelaide from 8-10 January 2013.
WTC Co-Tournament Director Mark Woodforde said “We’re absolutely delighted to be welcoming two of the biggest names in the history of women’s tennis to Adelaide in January.
“Showcasing the greatest tennis legends at Memorial Drive has always been an aim of the World Tennis Challenge and with the event’s popularity growing it was the perfect time to introduce female legends as we celebrate our fifth year in 2013.” continues Mark.
To date, the WTC has comprised of an all men’s draw featuring four of the world’s top current ATP players teaming up with four legends of the game playing in teams simultaneously in a combination of single and doubles matches across two courts.
The introduction of the women will see the format change to ensure spectators have an opportunity to watch Navratilova and Hingis play on court each night.
Martina Navratilova said “My old friend Mark Woodforde contacted me to say that the World Tennis Challenge was looking to head into a new direction with the introduction of women players.
“After hearing about the event from some of the past WTC players and knowing Mark – I was honoured to be one of the first women invited to play – it’s such a unique concept – I'm really looking forward to it” said Martina.
Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis who will be making her debut at Memorial Drive said “I'm very much looking forward to coming to Adelaide for the World Tennis Challenge.
“I've heard all about the event from some of the guys and it sounds such a unique and exciting event. It is the perfect combination of some great tennis and fun entertainment. I think it is a great way to start another year of tennis” said Hingis.
“I'm very much looking forward to playing Martina.” said Hingis when asked on her thoughts of playing Navratilova, whom she is named after.
“In recent times we’ve play against each other in singles matches and we’ve partnered as doubles partners. It’s a lot more relaxed these days – still very competitive of course – that is in all of our nature as sports professionals, but there is a lot less pressure and more time to enjoy it”
“In all our time on the tour we never really got to play against each other so it’s always a special moment when we meet across the net these days.” said Hingis.
And in regards to visiting South Australia, Hingis spoke fondly of her forthcoming visit “I have never been to South Australia before but I know it’s famous for great wine and beautiful beaches – hopefully I’ll get to experience both.”
Hingis, the youngest woman to be ranked No.1, retired for the second time in 2007 after reaching an unprecedented six consecutive Australian Open finals, winning in 1997-1999 and runner-up in 2000-2002.
She was ranked World No.1 for 209 weeks and was widely regarded as a gifted and cerebral tennis player in an era of power-tennis.
Minister for Tourism Gail Gago welcomed the news and the international spotlight that will shine on Adelaide during the event.
“This is truly going to be an exciting event for Adelaide and the State Government is a proud sponsor of the World Tennis Challenge – we recently extended sponsorship for a further three years,” Ms Gago said.
“The World Tennis Challenge gives fans the chance to watch legends of the sport in action, and its Be Active Challenge gives an opportunity for the tennis playing community to get involved as well.
“We are delighted that women will join the World Tennis Challenge in 2013. Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis are true stars of the game, and I know thousands of fans will join us in welcoming them to South Australia.”
In echoing the Minister’s sentiment, Tennis SA CEO Steve Baldas said “The South Australian tennis community applauds the Minister of Tourism, Gail Gago and the South Australian Government for its past, present and future support of the World Tennis Challenge.”
The latest player announcement of the two women completes the 2013 World Tennis Challenge field to include current players Alexandr Dolgopolov (ATP ranked #18); Stan Warwinka (17); Viktor Troiki (38) and Australia’s current #1 men’s player Marinko Matosevic (49). The ‘Legends’ for 2013 include Pat Cash, Henri Leconte, Mats Wilander, Yannick Noah and wildcard Mansour Bahrami.
The 2013 World Tennis Challenge will take place at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre, Adelaide, from 8 January to 10 January 2013.
World Tennis Challenge 2013 tickets are on sale now starting from $5.00 for children and $20.00 for adults and can be purchased online at www.ticketek.com.au or call 13 28 49.
For further tournament information on how to participate in the WTC Be Active Challenge which features over 2,000 tennis enthusiasts playing across the 10 day festival please visit www.worldtennischallenge.com.
Stay connected with us via worldtennischallenge.com, facebook.com/worldtennischallenge or @WTC_Adelaide.
World Tennis Challenge is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Government, through Events South Australia.
Martina Navratilova: Photo by John Wright, John Wright Photography johnwrightphoto.com
Martina Hingis: Photo by Jessica Haydahl