The Ministry of Culture is to provide the Estonian Tennis Association (ETL) with a grant of €150,000 to assist with the organization the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Tallinn Open.
Undersecretary for Sports at the Ministry of Culture Tarvi Pürn said, that organizing the tournament is a worthy challenge and a unique opportunity for Estonia. "Estonians have proven themselves to be excellent organizers of sporting events. Excellent sports facilities along with professional personnel and support staff create very good conditions for organizing a high level WTA tournament. We have also attracted the attention of the sporting world thanks to our outstanding tennis stars, who are among the best in the world," Pürn said.
"In addition to sporting objectives, hosting a WTA tournament in Tallinn will have a significant impact on our economy and the sustainable development of top-level tennis. The tournament will attract tennis fans from neighboring countries and further afield, generating additional tax revenue and helping to promote Estonia as a destination country. Seeing the world's top tennis stars on their home court will certainly be an extraordinary experience for spectators and aspiring young tennis players alike," added Pürn.
Qualifying matches for the WTA 250 Tallinn Open get underway on September 24 and 25, with the main tournament beginning on September 26 and the final set to take place on October 2. Matches will take place at the Forus Tennis Center in Tondi.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas had previously expressed doubts about the potential economic benefits of staging a WTA tennis tournament in Tallinn.
"To organize a WTA tennis tournament, €2,700,000 has been requested over three years. This is, for example, almost as much as the total annual support provided to Team Estonia's top 200 or so athletes, young athletes and coaches, or as much as the annual salary of the collective management of the Song and Dance Festival. One year's financial support for the tournament - €900,000 – could , for example, (be used to) pay a bonus of €500 to every rescue worker (instead)," Kallas wrote in a blog post in February.
The Estonian Tennis Federation (ETL) had initially asked the government for €900,000 to support the staging of the tournament, but at that time the issue was not discussed at government level.
"We asked the state for €900,000 and the total budget for the tournament is €1.3 million," Allar Hint, secretary general of the Estonian Tennis Association, said in February. "The saddest thing is that the issue was not put on the government's agenda at all, the only feedback was in a blog post by Kaja Kallas," said Hint.
Editor: Michael Cole