KUALA LUMPUR: After losing the men's equivalent last year, now the WTA Malaysian Open is making an exit from our shores, leaving the country without a major tennis tournament on the calendar.
It was reported that original licence holders Palermo, who had been leasing their permit to Malaysian Open organisers Carbon Worldwide since 2014, had decided to take back the event after the latter failed to meet payment obligations.
Carbon Worldwide executive chairman Keld Kristiansen, however, strongly refutes this, instead claiming they had decided to pull the plug on the deal with Palermo due to a number of factors.
"We had an option for next year (2018) but we decided not to continue for a number of reasons," said Kristiansen, when contacted today.
"We do not owe Palermo anything. We did not breach any legal contract. There is no bad blood between both parties.
"Palermo own this date (via licence). It was okay in the early years but we just felt that it was not suitable for us any more due to various changes in the WTA event calendar.
"Tennis is all about the swings, we were sticking out with this date being sandwiched between tournaments in different continents."
With the exception of the 2014 tournament which was held in April, the Malaysian Open was hosted in late-February since the first edition in 2010.
Carbon had then leased the licence directly from WTA before cutting a deal with Palermo in late-2013.
Kristiansen, however, added that the event could make a comeback if Carbon are able to secure the right dates and the right support though did not give any specific timeframe on when that could happen.
The tournament, as with the now defunct ATP Malaysian Open, had been struggling to attract sponsors, making it economically unfeasible in the long run.