Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Dubai, UAE – February 24, 2023: Women’s tennis was the winner on Friday when Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships presented the WTA, the principle organising body of the women’s professional game, with a special memento to mark its 50th anniversary.
Prior to the second Singles semi-final on Centre Court at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, fans were treated to a highlights video celebrating 50 years of the WTA, including footage of its early days, featuring Billie Jean King, through to clips of current champions.
Its Chairman and CEO, Steve Simon, was then presented with a replica of Dubai’s WTA 1000 tournament’s iconic silver coffee pot trophy in a ceremony attended by Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free; Ramesh Cidambi; COO of Dubai Duty Free; Salah Tahlak, Tournament Director of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships; Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President Marketing of Dubai Duty Free, and World No.1 Iga Swiatek.
“Thank you for the recognition of the past 50 years,” said Simon, a California native. “You saw by the video what the past 50 years has meant. The WTA was started with the premise to provide every woman athlete who had the ability with a place to play tennis. It has now grown to over 70 events worldwide, 600 athletes competing on the WTA Tour, and a global broadcast audience of over 900 million.
“What we are excited about is the next 50 years. When you have champions such as Iga Swiatek and partners such as Dubai Duty Free, and the team we have at the WTA, it’s only going to be a very exciting 50 years.”
McLoughlin added: “We are delighted that Dubai Duty Free partnered with women’s tennis when it did. I’m very happy that we decided to join the ladies on the Tour 23 years ago and I’ve never missed an opportunity to say that at that time Dubai Duty Free was prepared to offer equal prize money to the women and we are very happy to be able to continue to do that. I want to thank everyone for attending and congratulate the WTA on its 50th year.”
MORE: 50-Love: Leylah Fernandez joins WTA’s 50th anniversary celebration at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships