Once again her club hosts the Solgironès Women’s International Open, which this time makes the jump to the WTA circuit, the most important in the world. He encourages fans not to miss it.
Has it been difficult to make the jump to the WTA circuit?
No, it wasn’t difficult. The difficulty is the same as before. Maybe the requirements of the WTA are higher, there is a higher degree of demand compared to when we were an ITF tournament. This differs from an ITF. But in the end the pictures and the players are the same. We were very prepared, we had segmented everything with a good organizational chart, and it hasn’t been a problem.
What is their budget?
We are hovering around a little over 300,000 euros. 20% more than last year, when we organized an ITF 100,000 in Bisbal. The points we give out are pretty similar, for example, the winner gets 160. And in prizes, we’re at $115,000. Now, it is clear that being a tournament on the WTA circuit has much more prestige. It is a private company that monopolizes these championships. We have entered another level of tennis that from the outside has more relevance.
Is it as you had imagined it, the WTA circuit?
Yes, because we have a well-trained team and everyone puts in what they have to, it’s coming out pretty well-rounded and well-organized. On the first day you go for a spin, the WTA acts as a supervisor and they ask you for things, once you’ve reached cruising speed, as I say, we can handle everything that comes along. Maybe I had imagined that we would have better players but I understand that coinciding with Roland Garros it is logical that there are some who could not come. It happened to us with Leyla Fernández, she signed up, we saved her an invitation but she couldn’t come because despite having fallen in singles, she was competing in doubles. He will probably visit us on Sunday, but he won’t have been able to play. But yes, the expectation was that better players would come, with higher rankings.
Can you consider a change of dates, for the future, so as not to coincide with Roland Garros?
After the championship, we always do a deep review of what can be improved. One of the points will be to review the dates to see if we can find better ones to get a better show. Which does not mean that with players with higher rankings, a better show is guaranteed. But at least it’s not for not trying. We will talk to WTA and the other 125 in Spain if it is worth doing. We didn’t choose to hold the tournament now, it was the WTA that gave us this date.
How many WTA tournaments are there in Spain?
Ours and two more than 125, in Valencia and Reus, and WTA and ATP in Madrid.
Is this hitting the ceiling or the beginning of what is to come?
touch ceiling Economically, for now, we have to limit ourselves to the budget we have. This is our ceiling for at least the next three years, which is the contract we signed with the WTA. Now, I must also say that if someone gets excited and wants to do a better tournament, a 250, we are willing to make a letter to the kings. If any sponsor wants to organize a tournament of this level, which would be unique in Spain, we are open.
What prompted you to do ITF seven or eight years ago?
This is the seventh year of the tournament. The motivation was that the club was 30 years old, in 2016. We decided to do activities to celebrate and they proposed to us if we wanted to enter the international women’s circuits. We started with 10,000. We really liked the atmosphere of the whole week at the club. Between public aid and sponsors we have been growing. And always on the subject of women’s tennis, because we feel comfortable there.
How many people can pass through the CT La Bisbal facilities these days?
I think more than 5,000 people can pass through. There are 10 hours of tennis a day, from 10 in the morning to 9 in the evening. People come in, watch a game, leave, come back… since access is free it’s hard to count. We have an 800-seater grandstand on the main court that I’m sure we’ll fill over the weekend in the semi-finals and the final.
Is tennis also first class in Girona?
What will those who come to the slopes find?
A great show, good tennis and a good reception. There is ample parking, we have a bar and restaurant… I encourage everyone to come and see it because they will be delighted.