The fifth edition of the 2018 WTA Future Stars initiative will feature 48 qualifiers representing 21 countries across Asia-Pacific, all gathering in Singapore to play against each other from October 16 – 21. Each country sends two representatives, one each in the U14 and U16 categories, with host city Singapore represented by eight participants this year. 2018 will also be the last year that Singapore is hosting the WTA Future Stars event after its successful five-year term in the Lion City.
Held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the WTA Future Stars features the best U14 and U16 junior players from the region who will compete in Singapore at Kallang Tennis Centre. This year, the semi-finals for both categories will be played at the OCBC Arena Practice Courts for the first time on Saturday, October 20, from 11:30am onwards. The finals will start at 11am on Sunday, October 21, on Centre Court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Admission to all WTA Future Stars matches is free.
The WTA Future Stars platform was developed to showcase the best of Asia-Pacific’s next generation, and began with just 12 countries and 24 players in its first year. By the end of 2018, Singapore would have welcomed more than 198 WTA Future Stars participants to compete against each other alongside activities to breed friendship and encourage sportsmanship.
Kwok Hong Kiu from Hong Kong is looking forward to playing in the event for the first time. The U16 qualifier commented, “I’m so thankful for this opportunity to represent Hong Kong in the WTA Future Stars event and I hope that I can make my country proud.”
12 year old Tang Lok Shu from Hong Kong is equally thrilled to experience the WTA Future Stars event for the first time, especially as one of the youngest qualifiers in the tournament.
“I can’t wait to play against these girls who are also the top players from their countries. I hope to learn more about the different tactics used both by my peers and the Top 8 players during the WTA Finals event as well,” said Tang.
The 48 players will be treated to a variety of activities during their week-long stay in Singapore. Apart from the tournament, the players will have the opportunity to meet with WTA Legends, attend athlete development seminars and learn from some of the best coaches in the world at the WTA Future Stars Coaching Clinic. All players will also be invited to attend the Gala Evening featuring the Official Singles Draw Ceremony and the eight semi-finalists in the competition will be presented with an autographed racket by the WTA players on stage.
The WTA Future Stars will also learn the importance of giving back to the sport by participating in the COME PLAY! Community Day held on Saturday, October 20, an initiative organised by WTA Charities. In a clinic led by WTA Finals Community Ambassador Judy Murray, the WTA Future Stars will assist other participants from SportCares, SC Global’s Tennis for Every Child program and members from the Singapore Wheelchair Tennis Association in tennis-themed activities catered for beginners.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with the WTA to promote tennis in Asia. The WTA Future Stars program has built the perfect foundation for us to continue our efforts to get more people playing tennis in the region. I look forward to meeting with the WTA Future Stars again in Singapore to share some skill- building games and exercises that they can pass onto kids and teens in their own countries. I am so excited to continue working with the COME PLAY! program, to grow tennis by building a workforce of teachers, students, coaches and parents in local communities all around the world” said Murray.
WTA Legends Yayuk Basuki from Indonesia and Tamarine Tanasugarn from Thailand will be presenting the trophies to the winners of the WTA Future Stars tournament. In addition, WTA Legend Martina Navratilova will be presenting the Li Na Inspiration Award to two WTA Future Stars who embody the spirit of the game both on and off the court, as well as qualities that made Li Na well-loved with fans, players and sponsors throughout her career.
The WTA Future Stars tournament is organised by the WTA, in partnership with Sport Singapore and the Singapore Tennis Association, with the support of Peak, SAP and Wilson. Working closely with WTA stars, legends and experts, WTA Future Stars clinics and masterclasses have been conducted in India, China, Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, and of course Singapore, reaching out to hundreds of children in these communities and encouraging them to live a better life through the sport.