Tennis-WTA targets Asia, adds Wimbledon warm-up event for 2015


Dec 12 (Reuters) - An emphasis on boosting the WTA's footprint in Asia and a new grasscourt event in the Wimbledon build-up were among schedule changes announced by the Women's Tennis Association on Thursday.

The WTA said the key growth markets of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan will host a record six WTA Premier and International tournaments and four 125K Series events in Asia starting in 2014.

"The WTA calendars continue to deepen the reach of women's professional tennis into unprecedented markets to help grow our global fan base far and wide," WTA chief executive Stacey Allaster said in a statement.

"Together with the continued success and growth of the China Open and the launch of the year-end WTA Championships in Singapore in 2014, the WTA's Asia growth strategy is in full force."

In 2015, the WTA will also stage a new grasscourt tournament in Nottingham, England to help players prepare for the year's second grand slam at the All England Club.

Among the other changes starting next year, the WTA said it will host two events in Brazil for the first time while another two WTA 125K Series events will take place in Israel and France. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris)

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