Heart of Tennis to beat in İstanbul

THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS CHAMPIONSHIP IN WOMEN’S TENNIS, THE TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS İSTANBUL ARE GOING TO BE PLAYED IN ISTANBUL FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS WITH PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP BY TURKISH AIRLINES.

The first of the tournaments will take place October 25 to 30 at the Sinan Erdem Sports Complex, pitting against each other the eight top names and four best teams in women’s tennis. Tickets for the semi-finals and finals have already sold out. We talked with Caroline Wozniacki, Face of Turkish Airlines’ Business Class, who has been number one in women’s tennis since 2010, and with Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç, who has given generous backing to the tournament.

Caroline Wozniacki

“I think I’m going to get big support in Istanbul.”

You are coming to Istanbul in October for the end-of-season championship. This will be your third time in the city. How do you feel about it?

I really love Istanbul. It’s an enchanting city and it’s going to be a lot of fun to go back there, so I’m really impatient.The people are very friendly, and I think they like me too. That’s why I think I’m going to have serious support.

The event was held for three years in Doha before coming to Istanbul. Istanbul is very different from Doha. How do those differences affect tennis players?

It’s exciting to be in Istanbul for the next three years. It’s a brand new city, and I’m sure they are going to have good organization and ensure the best conditions for the players. That’s why every player in the tournament can’t wait to come to Istanbul.

How do you get along with the other players? We remember that you crashed a press conference with Novak Djokovic during Wimbledon.

I get along well with most of the players. I like to have fun off the court. As you said, I secretly snuck into Dojokovic’s press conference.It’s important to be able to be friends off the court. Tennis is an individual sport, and you can feel quite alone on the court.

Your best friends are all Polish and your family is Polish, and yet you play for Denmark. How does that affect you?

I’ve been surrounded by different languages ever since I was born, and I consider myself lucky to have been able to learn them. I can get to know people easily wherever I go. As a person who was born and grew up in Denmark I feel more Danish myself.

Turkey is hosting the WTA Championships. How many similar sports events are we going to see in Istanbul in 2012?

We are hosting 12 more big events like the World Swimming and Indoor Track Championships. And we’ll continue to host the WTA Championships in 2012 and 2013. As a city of history and culture and a bridge between continents and civilizations, Istanbul is going to be one of the most popular destinations for tennis fans right up to 2013.

Turkey has been hosting some major international events of late…
A total of 672 spots events have been held in 25 different provinces since 2003. Of them, 214 were big international events.

And now Istanbul is also a candidate for the 2020 Olympics…
I believe we are ready now. We applied for candidacy with facilities like the Sinan Erdem Sports Complex, where the tennis championship is going to be held, and the Turk Telecom Arena Stadium that are already finished and that exceed international standards. New ones are soon going to be added to those

Have you made any special preparations for the WTA Championship?

The championship flag was passed to Turkey in September. Now Sinan Erdem Sports Complex is going to be fitted with the world’s latest technology to host the tennis championship.

Czech player Martina Navratilova won 8 singles and 12 doubles championships to become the most successful player in history.

The U.S. with 14 champions is followed by Germany with six. Third place goes to Belgium with five firsts.

Spain’s Conchita Martinez and the Czech Helena Sukova both played in the tournament 11 times without a happy ending.

 “I believe we are ready now.”