KUALA LUMPUR: The BMW Malaysian Open 2012 organiser has announced the appointment of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the patron of the tournament.
The third edition of the BMW Malaysian Open, a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tournament, will be held from Feb 27 to March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
The competition will feature an impressive line-up of stars, among them seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams.
"We are delighted to have been able to make this announcement as Tun Dr Mahathir is certainly the country's master brand-builder as he is long credited with spearheading the phenomenal growth of Malaysia's economy," said BMW Malaysia managing director Geoffrey Briscoe in a statement on Wednesday.
"We believe that this augurs well for the BMW Malaysian Open as we've set out to augment the Malaysian sports and tourism industry," he added.
Briscoe said the former prime minister strongly advocated bringing international sporting events here and envisioned Malaysia as a premium tourist destination with focus on popular destinations such as Langkawi.
The BMW Malaysian Open 2012 will also feature current world number nine Marion Bartoli of France and China's rising star Peng Shuai, all of whom will be competing for a total prize purse of USD220,000 (about RM690,172).