The first Premier tournament of the season held in Europe, the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games was triumphantly resurrected in 2015 after seven years’ absence.
WTA Antwerp formerly ran from 1999 to 2008, with seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin winning the first and last editions of the tournament, rated as a Tier II throughout its lifespan. The tournament’s champions also included four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters (2004), seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams (2002, 2003) and three titles for two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, who won WTA Antwerp in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Vera Zvonareva and Li Na were among the players who starred in the 'Diamond City'.
The first incarnation of the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, then known as the Proximus Diamond Games and played at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis Merksem, was built around the phenomenal success of Belgium’s great female players Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, both of whom won the tournament to thrill the home fans. 2004 champion Kim Clijsters returned to WTA Antwerp as its tournament director in 2015.
The first of six Premier WTA Tour events to be held in Europe, the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games offers $71,000 in prize money as well as a special, traditional prize – a gold tennis racquet studded with diamonds and worth $1.5 million, offered to any player who wins the tournament twice in three years. Mauresmo was the only player to claim this prize in the tournament’s first incarnation.
Kicking off the spring hard-court season in diamond-studded style, the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games is played in early February following the Australian Open and begins the long run-up to the major spring events in Indian Wells and Miami. Played on indoor hard courts in the beautiful city of Antwerp, the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games attracts the top players in large numbers to the biggest WTA Tour event of the European spring.