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By Erik Gudris

Li Na (January 9, 2013) -- The WTA released the 2013 and 2014 tour schedules today along with announcing an increase in overall prize money for this year.

For 2013, a new International event in Katowicz, Poland will be held on the week of April 8th replacing last year's tournament in Copenhagen. This year will also mark the 30th and final edition of the Toray Pan Pacific event in Tokyo as it will move to Wuhan, home of French Open champion Li Na,  in 2014.

China will see further growth in events starting in 2014. Five out of the total 18 events held in the Asia-Pacific region will be held in China next year including three new 125 events in Suzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing and the relocation of another International event to Hong Kong.

South America will also see an increase in WTA presence with the inaugural staging of the tournament in Florianopolis, Brazil this year and the relocation of the Memphis event to Rio de Janeiro in 2014.

Other changes for 2014 include several current events being upgraded in tour status. Brussels will become an International event while Birmingham will become a Premier 600 event. Istanbul, which currently hosts the Year-End Championships, will remain as an International event.

Overall prize money will increase by 10% across all WTA events from $53.3 million  in 2012 to $58.7 million in 2013.

"We are excited by the growth of women's professional tennis, particularly in key markets like China and Brazil," said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO. "Development in the BRIC markets, led by China, has been a strategic priority for the past several years. We look forward to continued strengthening of our global brand, developing our sport, and building our fan base worldwide."

The announcement for the host city of the Year-End Championships for 2014 will be made in April.

(Photo Credit: Shenzhen Open)


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