Success of WTA Finals celebrated with art piece

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King unveils sculpture commemorating achievements of women in sports and entertainment

To celebrate the success of Singapore hosting the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global for five years, an art piece was unveiled at the Singapore Sports Hub yesterday.

Tennis legend and gender equality advocate Billie Jean King unveiled the symbolic sculpture, which commemorates the achievements of women in sports and entertainment.

Titled Dream, it was commissioned by the Singapore Sports Hub, Sport Singapore, and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

King, founder of the WTA, said there is greater awareness of women in sports now than ever before.

"What we wanted for any girl born in this world is to be appreciated for her accomplishments, and not just for looks," she said.

The 39-time Grand Slam champion also noted that Singapore is the first country in the Asia Pacific to host the WTA Finals.

"I want to thank Singaporeans for the great job they have done and how lucky we are to play here and be a part of the community," said King.

The sculpture features a young girl holding a tennis racquet, with her dress and shoes inspired by those worn by King in her famous 1973 Battle Of The Sexes match.

The match made history for women's equality in tennis, after King beat Bobby Riggs, a former champion known for his chauvinistic views.

Mr Steve Simon, chief executive officer of the WTA, said: "We hope the WTA footprint reminds Singaporeans and visitors from around the world to chase their goals with vigour and confidence, just like Billie Jean has."

When asked how the success of the WTA Finals has put the Singapore Sports Hub on the international map, the chief executive officer of Singapore Sports Hub, Mr Oon Jin Teik, said it was a privilege to host such a significant event.

He added: "More importantly, for young people, they start to see women in sports and entertainment. That will change the mindset of not just Singaporeans, but (other) Asians as well, of what they believe women can do."

He noted that the Singapore Sports Hub has seen an increased interest in tennis since the first edition of the WTA Finals here in 2014.

The sculpture is displayed at the north entrance of the Singapore Indoor Stadium, home of the WTA Finals.

The final edition in Singapore concludes on Sunday. The event will move to Shenzhen, China, for the next 10 years.