Talk about a cherry on top. As a tennis player, you don't get a larger cherry on a cake than the biggest payday in the history of the sport.
The eight women who have qualified for the singles field at the season-ending Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen will all be trying to make history, but you can't ignore the prize money - if she wins all her group matches, the champion will receive $4.725 million. That's the biggest check in women's and men's tennis and a huge deal which sends out a great message, especially to young girls.
In women's tennis, we're always striving for equality. This is great for the game, and it's great for women and girls everywhere who want to achieve something, whether in sports or other fields. This sends a message to the girl that she can be the doctor and not the nurse, that she can be the player and not the cheerleader (no disrespect to nurses and cheerleaders intended).
After such an unpredictable year on the WTA Tour, with four different Grand Slam singles champions again, it's fitting that the final tournament of the year is wide open. I think it's anyone's ball game. Each one of the eight - Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina - can win the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen if her hand gets hot for a week.
Just to make the week even more unpredictable, this is the first year at a new venue and no one quite knows what the court will be like. The speed of the court will determine whose odds just got a little better. If it's a faster court the bigger hitters will be smiling and conversely the defenders/retrievers will prefer a slower court.
This is a field packed with Cinderella stories. Who thought at the start of the year that Barty would potentially finish the season as the WTA World No.1? I can tell you: nobody. Barty's stated goal at the start of the year was to stay in the Top 20. And then this year, wow, she reached No.1 for the first time. It's really fascinating. Both Barty and Andreescu have pretty much come from nowhere. Andreescu's rise this season has been even more meteoric and now she's in the running to be the year-end No.2.
We could have Barty and Andreecsu finish the year at No.1 and No.2. Are you kidding me? To my mind, that's just crazy! The truth is, at the start of 2019, none of us predicted that Barty and Andreescu would have big years, that Barty would win the French Open and that Andreescu would take the US Open.
Svitolina scraped into the field but she could win the whole thing and defend her title. Bencic is hot after winning Moscow. Kvitova has been a sleeping giant this year but she came close at the Australian Open, where she was the runner-up to Osaka. Halep won Wimbledon, which she didn't expect, and could win this title too.
Osaka has had her ups and downs, with her ups including winning the Australian Open, but seems to be better now. Pliskova has the firepower to beat anyone on any given day but she's had a slightly disappointing season so this is a huge opportunity for her to finish on a high.
So whoever wins in Shenzhen, it's going to be a great story, and one that comes with an enormous cherry on top.