ISTANBUL, Turkey - The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul is right around the corner, and an all-star field is locked in - eight singles players, four doubles teams. But while the on-court action is obviously the centerpiece of it all, there's a lot going on before the tournament even starts...
Sunday was a very big day in Istanbul - the glamorous draw ceremony took place, with the eight singles players getting styled up before getting split into two round robin groups - the White Group and Red Group. The traditional iconic photo was also be taken. WTA Live was there (watch it here).
Monday sees the elite eight meet the press in another tradition - the pre-tournament All-Access Hour.
Round robin play begins on Tuesday, October 22, running through Friday. The semifinals take place on Saturday and the final on Sunday. Meanwhile, the doubles draw takes place on Thursday, with the single elimination doubles event running parallel with the singles - semifinals Saturday, final Sunday.
This is the third and final year that Istanbul will host the season finale, and it has not only been an amazing host for the event, but it's an amazing city with an immense amount of appeal for fans and players alike. It's unique in many ways - over 2,000 years of history, the only city in the world situated on two continents, and a harmonious mix of cultures that reflects the diversity of the WTA.
And the players have chimed in time and time again on their favorite part of Istanbul - the fans.
"I'm so excited to be returning to Istanbul," Angelique Kerber said when she qualified. "The fans last year were amazing and I look forward for the chance to play against the best players in the world."
"It's one of the best events and a beautiful facility," Victoria Azarenka said when she qualified. "I'm looking forward to seeing all the fans - the excitement and energy they bring is just amazing."
"The support we received from the fans last year was overwhelming and it's going to be a very special feeling returning to Turkey and playing in that incredible atmosphere again," Serena Williams said.