WTA adds two new 250 events ahead of Indian Wells as provisional 2023 calendar is released

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The WTA will make stops in Merida, Mexico, and Austin, Texas, during the first couple of months of the 2023 season after the two cities were handed licenses for WTA 250 events.

The WTA released its provisional 2023 tournament schedule up to the US Open in August and Merida joins the calendar for the first time while Austin is back after it hosted the season-ending WTA Finals this year.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the WTA and the season will kick off in Australia with the mixed-sex $15 million United Cup in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney with 18 countries taking part.

For those not involved in the United Cup, there will be events in Adelaide and Auckland before a second Adelaide WTA 500 event and the WTA 250 Hobart International completes the warm-up events for the season-opening Grand Slam, the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

The Dubai Tennis Championships will mark the first WTA 1000 event of the campaign with another six (Indian Wells Masters, Miami Open, Madrid Open, Italian Open, Canadian Open and Western & Southern Open) taking place before the US Open.

The four Grand Slams are set for January 16-29 (Australian Open), May 28-June 11 (French Open), July 3-16 (Wimbledon), August 28-September 10 (US Open).

“As the WTA celebrates its 50th anniversary, the 2023 calendar showcases the incredible breadth and reach of women’s tennis,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon.

“We are excited and proud to showcase our amazing events to our global audience of over 900 million fans, with tournaments in six continents and over 20 countries from January to early September.”

It remains to be seen if the WTA Tour will return to China later in the year after tournaments in the country were suspended following the initial disappearance of Peng Shuai.

Former doubles world No 1 Peng disappeared from the public eye for several weeks after she accused former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault on social media.

She later denied the accusation, but the WTA refused to visit the country until a full explanation is provided.

The WTA is set to release its full 2023 calendar before the end of 2022 and it remains to be seen if the Zhengzhou Open, Jiangxi Open, Guangzhou Open, China Open and Tianjin Open will return next year.

Shenzhen has also had the rights to host the WTA Finals from 2019 until 2028, but the tournament was cancelled in 2020 and in 2021 it was moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event was switched to Fort Worth, Texas, due to the ongoing concerns over Peng’s safety.

READ MORE: United Cup: ATP and WTA announce joint team event to kick off 2023 season