ISTANBUL, Turkey - Serena Williams and doubles teams Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond and Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka have qualified for the season-ending TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012, which will feature the world's Top 8 singles players and Top 4 doubles teams and will be held at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul from October 23 to 28, 2012.
"I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul," said WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster. "Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a Golden Career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her fifth Wimbledon and fourth US Open titles. Serena's love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world.
"Andrea and Lucie's outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, in addition to winning a silver medal at the Olympics. It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-No.1s on the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back to defend their title."
Williams has had a phenomenal last five months on the WTA, winning six titles - most notably her 14th and 15th Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open and the Olympic gold medal. She has won 43 of her last 45 matches and is also a two-time WTA Championships champion, in 2001 and 2009.
The two doubles teams that qualified have been exceptional this year as well - Huber and Raymond have won five titles together (all Premier titles, at Paris [Indoors], Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and New Haven) while Hlavackova and Hradecka have won three (only one Premier title at Cincinnati, but they have also reached very big finals at Wimbledon, the Olympics and US Open).
"It is such an unbelievable feeling to have qualified for the WTA Championships," Hradecka said. "I watched the matches last year, and Petra Kvitova told us how amazing the tournament was, so we are really looking forward to it."
"At the start of the year, our focus was really on the Olympics, but as the results started to come, we began to think it might be possible to qualify for Istanbul," Hlavackova said. "It's great that we'll be playing indoors on a fast surface, and we're going to have some fun and make the most of the week."
"One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the WTA Championships," Huber said. "Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again. The doubles competition will be tough and I'm sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year."
"I'm thrilled to qualify for my 12th WTA Championships and am looking forward to ending the year hopefully on a high note in Turkey!" Raymond added.