Brisbane, 19 May 2011 |

More of the world’s top female tennis stars will head to Queensland in 2012 with the announcement today of a status upgrade for the Brisbane International.

The tournament has been upgraded by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to a Premier event, allowing unlimited participation by the world’s top 10 tennis players and boosting prize money significantly.

Tournament Director Cameron Pearson said the WTA’s decision to upgrade the Brisbane International to a Premier event was exciting news for the combined WTA-ATP tournament.

“This decision is the ultimate endorsement of the event, Brisbane and Queensland,” Pearson said.

“The upgrade is the result of the terrific support of the Queensland public over the past three years, the outstanding facilities the Queensland Tennis Centre offers and, most importantly, the positive feedback  the WTA-ATP players have given about the event.

“The Brisbane International had some strong international competition for this upgrade and without the ongoing support of the Queensland Government this achievement would not have been possible.

“The upgrade will see prize money for the women’s event increase to $655,000 in 2012, and then move to $1,000,000 from 2013.

“The reality is we can now look forward to seeing even more of the world’s top women players join the world’s best men competing here in Brisbane.

“The Brisbane International will deliver the biggest prize pool in Australian tennis outside of the Australian Open.”

Premier Anna Bligh said securing this upgrade is great news for Queensland and it will throw the international tennis spotlight on Brisbane in 2012.

“This means that the world’s best  tennis players – the likes of Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and, of course, Queensland’s own Sam Stosur – could be coming here to give fans a first-hand look at their awesome talent.

“The Queensland Government has been a strong supporter of this event -supporting Brisbane International through Events Queensland and investing in first-class infrastructure like the Queensland Tennis Centre at Tennyson.

“The Tennis Centre and surrounding communities were impacted heavily by the flooding disaster this year – and it’s a great symbol of Queensland’s fighting spirit that a year later the tournament will be back bigger and better than ever.”