WTA Stars On The Road To Singapore
Published January 04, 2014 12:12
It was an exciting week in women's tennis as the Road To Singapore campaign, which will follow the stars of the WTA around the world all year and bring enhanced coverage of all kind for fans, kicked off.
We caught up with some of the players to get their take on the journey ahead.
"I will try my best to qualify for the WTA Championships in Singapore, because it's the first time the WTA Championships are in Asia and it's less travelling for me!" Li Na said. "I want to thank everyone in Singapore for all their support and I will work very hard to qualify for the WTA Championships."
Li is looking forward to the fan support. "I believe the fans in Singapore will cheer for every player," she said. "I also think all the players will get a warm welcome and feel like they're playing at home."
It has been a great first week for Li already in Shenzhen, the reward for a grueling off-season.
"After the WTA Championships in Istanbul I had three weeks off. The first week I worked from 8am to 8pm to shoot commercials for sponsors. Then I had some quality time with my family. Then Germany for two weeks to see the doctor, then I worked very hard with Carlos for three weeks in Beijing."
Li isn't the only player who has done well on the first leg of the Road To Singapore. Venus Williams has been wowing the crowds in Auckland all week, and also points to her off-season as a springboard.
"I started early this off-season," Williams said. "I'm constantly busy and it can be hard to carve out time for tennis, so I think starting early paid off for me. I'm hitting better than I was this time last year.
"My goals for 2014 are just to go out on the court, play with no fear and step up to the plate and compete. I really want to enjoy the battle. As long as I'm doing that, it usually turns out pretty good."
Williams knows what it takes to win the WTA Championships - she won it in Doha in 2008. So what would it mean for her to return to the season finale for the first time in five years? "Oh my gosh, it would be amazing," she said. "I really wanted to qualify these last couple of years, but I didn't come anywhere near playing enough tennis to make it. Obviously it would be wonderful to be in the elite eight again."
And on the support she will likely get if she makes it? "It's amazing when the crowd's behind you," she said. "It feels like you're riding the wave, and every player's going to want that in Singapore. I hope they'll be behind me, but even if they aren't, I'll appreciate that they're supporting women's tennis!"