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Stars of the Next Generation in Asia-Pacific Crowned

The region’s top young talent competed at the 2017 WTA Future Stars in Singapore

SINGAPOREPriska Nugroho from Indonesia and Megan Smith from Australia have been crowned as champions of the 2017 WTA Future Stars tournament. The players took part in the fourth edition of the WTA Future Stars tournament last week, which showcased some of the region's youngest tennis players.

Forty-eight young players from 21 Asia-Pacific countries battled it out in the tournament which took place ahead of the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. This afternoon, the tournament concluded with the final matches of the U14 and U16 categories at the Centre Court, Singapore Indoor Stadium.

 In attendance were WTA Legends Yayuk Basuki from Indonesia and Tamarine Tanasugarn from Thailand who handed out the trophies to the winners and 18-time Grand Slam title holder, Martina Navratilova who presented the Li Na Inspiration Award to two WTA Future Stars.

“It is truly impressive that these young women get to represent their respective countries and play at such a high level,” shared Tanasugarn. “I have seen great improvement in the quality of play amongst young players across Asia-Pacific and I believe that the WTA Future Stars platform has helped to inspire the players to raise their level of play in the region.”

Nugroho bested Jattavapornvanit during the final U14 match with a closing score of 6-3 6-3. Meanwhile, Australian Future Star, Megan Smith took home the title in the U16 category with impressive shots and final scores of 7-5 1-6 10-5 over Ya-Hsin Lee from Chinese-Taipei.

“It has been an exciting week for me playing against the other future stars and it’s an honour to take home the trophy,” said Smith. “I really love the experience here in Singapore and I learned a lot from the tennis legends and coaches. I hope that this gives me the platform to push further and represent my country”.

U14 player Yelizaveta Karlova representing Kazakhstan, and U16 player Elys Ventura from New Zealand, were chosen as the recipients of the Li Na Inspiration Award for their remarkable show of sportsmanship throughout the tournament’s run and were presented with their awards from Tiffany & Co.

“I feel very honoured to receive the Li Na Inspiration Award from the WTA. All of us came here to compete and win, but what is more important are the friendships that I have made and the bond that I have built with my fellow Future Stars,” said Ventura.

“The WTA Future Stars is a program that does not only help young players to develop their skills but to help them understand what it really means to be a tennis player on and off the court,” said WTA Finals Legend Ambassador, Alicia Molik, who conducted a tennis clinic for the participants earlier this week. “There is always that feeling of fulfilment being able to share my experiences to the young ones and I hope that they continue to strive harder to reach their dreams and that they treasure all the memories they all have shared during the tournament.”

Speaking after the finals, Donna Kelso, Tournament Director of the WTA Stars said, “Congratulations to the winners of this year’s WTA Future Stars. I have witnessed the best of the next generation from this region compete over the last few days and I must say that everyone is truly outstanding and you are all champions to me. I am so proud of all of them and hopefully they will continue pursue their journey in tennis.”

“Every year, I look forward to seeing these young women play and participate in the different activities we’ve organised to ensure that they get to take with them not just the skills but the knowledge and attitude of a true professional tennis player.”

Echoing the success of the tournament, Melissa Pine, Vice-President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals said, “The WTA Future Stars is an important component of the WTA Finals event in Singapore as we look to build the legacy of women’s tennis in the region. We are thrilled to create opportunities for these young girls to meet the very best in women’s tennis and I believe that their experiences here will continue to inspire them in their future endeavours.”