HONOLULU – Pleased by the success of last year’s inaugural Hawaii Open, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced today that its sponsorship support of the State’s only Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tournament has been extended for three years through 2019.
The final WTA tournament of the year, the Hawaii Open is taking place the week of November 19-26 at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park. The field will feature 32 world-ranked WTA players and up-and-coming international stars playing singles and doubles matches. Last year’s singles champion was American CiCi Bellis, with the victory being her first tournament title on the WTA tour. Winning the doubles championship was Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato of Japan.
Tournament organizers are confident this year’s field of international competitors will be stronger, as more top players are aware of the tournament and impressed by the quality of play, the enthusiasm of Hawaii’s tennis fans and the opportunity to boost their world rankings before the tennis year concludes.
“Last year’s inaugural Hawaii Open was a huge hit with the players and fans and established Hawaii as a premier destination to host the playing of a world-class tennis tournament,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Tournament Director Ben Goldsmith and his team committed to making the Hawaii Open a first-class operation that capitalizes on Hawaii’s endearing attributes to attract both top players and the interest of tennis fans around the world. They have lived up to their word and we are delighted to continue our partnership and help the Hawaii Open become an even greater showcase for top-quality women’s tennis.”
The benefits of HTA’s continued sponsorship of the Hawaii Open will extend to Hawaii’s tennis-playing public who use the tennis courts and facilities at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park on a year-round basis. Tournament organizers are making significant improvements to the park’s tennis facilities, the highlights of which includes construction of new spectator bleachers, enhancing the quality of the locker room facilities, and clearing of the grounds and surrounding areas. These upgrades are key to continuing to bring top flight sporting events to Hawaii.
Szigeti added, “The improvements make for a better tournament, and they are also a tribute to the legacy of Patsy T. Mink and all that she stood for during her life in championing equal opportunity for women to play sports. The Central Oahu Regional Park and Hawaii Open are testaments to the values she held dear to support sports participation, especially for women athletes.”
Tournament organizers are also installing a new cable communications system that will improve the Hawaii Open’s ability to broadcast matches on cable TV channels to viewers worldwide and be live-streamed over the Internet. The tournament will generate extensive global exposure for Hawaii, as all of the week’s matches will be televised by the Tennis Channel, Fox Sports Asia, Fox Sports Latin America, ESPN Canada, and other cable TV providers, while also being live-streamed by tennis fans worldwide.