The BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games will not be returning after it was stated that there will be a new WTA Premier Tournament in St. Petersburg. The Diamond Games were brought back to the WTA circuit this year after a six-year hiatus. The tournament in Antwerp was an exhibition known as the Thomas Cook Diamond Games. IMG has confirmed that the tournament will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia next year in the second week of February at the Sibur Arena.
The history of the Diamond Games
2002 was the inaugural year for the Diamond Games as an event and was classified as a Tier II tournament, which was replaced by the Premier tournaments. The first-ever champion was Venus Williams who defeated Belgian Justine Henin in three sets. In every year with the exception of 2005 and 2014, there was a Belgian who made the final with Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters leading the way. Clijsters made four finals with one title, and Henin made two finals with one title.
The restructuring of tournaments of the WTA in 2009 plus the retirements of Clijsters and Henin saw the tournament become an exhibition for six years.
The lady who was champion the most times in Antwerp is Andy Murray’s coach and new mother, Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman won three consecutive Diamond Games from 2005-2007. In her first Diamond Games title, she defeated Venus Williams and then defeated Kim Clijsters in the following two years for the three-peat.
This year, the last tournament champion is Andrea Petkovic of Germany. She won via walkover as Carla Suarez Navarro had to pull out with an injury. Clijsters was the tournament director this year as she helped bring back the event to her home country. February 8 will be the inauguration of the event in St. Petersburg.