SINGAPORE (Nov 2): Dominika Cibulkova has been crowned as the new champion of the 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but Singapore too could emerge as a winner.

The hosting of tennis’ de facto “fifth major” for women has helped to cement Singapore’s status as a premier location for international sporting events along with the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix.

WTA’s chief executive, Steve Simon, has floated the idea of keeping Singapore as permanent host of the event.

“I would certainly like at some point, for the WTA Finals to find a more permanent home, where we can truly build an event – build the traditions and make the investments. And Singapore is certainly a dynamic, vibrant and beautiful city,” said Simon last week.

Simon also indicated that he had held informal discussions with government agencies as well as key sponsors about the possibility of a longer, if not open-ended, schedule for the WTA Finals to be held in Singapore every Oct.

With two years left to run on the original five-year contract for hosting the event at the Sports Hub, it may be premature to speculate on an extension of the stay.

But government agencies such as Singapore Tourism Board (STB) are clearly enthusiastic. Singapore’s aim has been to host more high-profile and prestigious sporting events which will generate global publicity and inbound tourism into the city-state. 

Jean Ng, director of sports at STB, was quoted in media reports as saying that Singapore and the WTA have found themselves to be natural partners for the finale to the women's season.

She indicated that STB, in conjunction with other agencies, will evaluate key objectives in future negotiations with WTA, such as “economic benefits, community benefits in getting more people to play tennis, and helping our elite tennis scene to grow”.