TOKYO (Reuters) - The Pan Pacific Open women’s tournament will be moved from February to September from next year, organizers of the Tokyo event said on Thursday.
The tier one tournament has traditionally been held immediately after the Australian Open but will switch from indoor carpet to outside hardcourts from 2008.
Pushing the Pan Pacific Open back falls in line with plans announced by the women’s WTA Tour to shorten the season in a bid to reduce the risk of injury to players.
Maria Sharapova pulled out of this year’s tournament with a pulled hamstring during her semi-final. Martina Hingis went on to win a record fifth title.
Next year’s tournament will be played on the concrete courts of Tokyo’s Ariake Colosseum instead of the fast indoor carpets of the Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Pan Pacific organizers expect the tournament to keep its September slot after the WTA’s proposed new schedule is introduced in 2009.