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WTA Tour Cancels MPS Group Chps./Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Tennis Event

May 20, 2010 07:00 PM

Venus Williams (left) won the Amelia Island title
in 2002, but sister Serena never raised the trophy
in three attempts

Tournament officials for The MPS Group Championships, the WTA Tour event that completed its second year in 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after a long run as The Bausch & Lomb Championships at Amelia Island, say the event will not continue in 2011 due to the WTA Tour realignment of its tournament calendar.

"The strategic management of the WTA Tour's Roadmap, designed to create a healthy calendar for players along with optimal player flow, would have necessitated the Ponte Vedra tournament to move to a different segment of the season where weather and/or required court surface would have presented significant challenges," read a release by tournament officials.

"I would personally like to thank all of our sponsors, including MPS Group, our host, Sawgrass Country Club, and the great tennis fans of Northern Florida as they were all vital to the success of the tournament," said John Arrix, tournament director.

Formerly the Bausch & Lomb Championships, the tournament was held from 1980-2008 at the Amelia Island Plantation on Amelia Island, Fla. Bausch & Lomb decided to no longer sponsor the event after changes in medical law no longer allowed entertaining doctors and other clients at the event.

From the beginning years in 1980-86 the event rotated title sponsorships, first known as the Murjani WTA Championships, then the Lipton WTA Championships, the NutraSweet WTA Championships, then the Sunkist WTA Championships before the long-standing Bausch & Lomb Championships title.
Instituted last year, the WTA Tour's Roadmap was designed to "create a healthier calendar for players and ensure that fans would be able to see their favorite players more often at the tour's biggest events."

The tournament hosted an impressive line-up of players over the years, with tournament winners including nine former No. 1-ranked players in Martina Navratilova (1980,'84,88), Chris Evert (1981-83), Steffi Graf (1986-87,'90), Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario (1993-94), Lindsay Davenport (1997,2004-05), Monica Seles (1999-2000), Amelie Mauresmo (2001), Venus Williams (2002), and Maria Sharapova (2008).

The MPS Group Championships event currently shares the week on the WTA Tour calendar with the Andalucia Tennis Experience event in Marbella, Spain. The 2011 WTA Tour calendar is not yet available, and it has yet to be announced what will happen with the calendar week, which traditionally follows the Sony Ericsson Open event in Miami.






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