SINGAPORE - Most of the time, players tend to offer identical analysis of a tournament's court speed. Clay is slower than hardcourts, which are, in turn, slower than grass and indoor courts. But within that hierarchy lies a maddening gradient of quick clay courts and slow hardcourts that can make it difficult to assess which court will favor a player on any given week.
Speaking at Saturday's All-Access hour, Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Madison Keys, and Dominika Cibulkova were all asked to give their take on the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global's Centre Court. The consensus was admittedly hard to gauge.
"I don't remember last year, but I think it's so slow," Muguruza said. "It's so slow. I think there's going to be hard matches in that surface.
"But I love the court. It's such a great show and environment, so we'll put the effort there."
Coming from the Generali Ladies Linz, Keys agreed that the court was slower than a player might find at the average indoor, but even that criticism is relative.
"They're playing a little bit slower than what Linz was playing, but it was actually really nice to be able to go and play an indoor tournament and then come here. It feels pretty similar. The ball stays really low. Definitely a faster court, so I'm not complaining about that."
Winning Linz to qualify for Singapore, Cibulkova thought it had less to do with speed and more to do with bounce, which will be crucial for the big-hitting Slovak to get her rhythm on Sunday's first round-robin match against Radwanska.
"I thought the surface would be pretty similar [to Linz], but it's not. It's very different. It bounces and it's a little bit faster.
"So I still have to get used to it. It's good that it's at least indoor, that I don't have to get used to indoor and outdoor."
Runner-up in 2014, Halep pointed to the slowness of the court as one of the reasons why she liked playing at the WTA Finals, but Pliskova wasn't sure the court played as slow as her colleagues insisted.
"I definitely wouldn't say it's fast, but it could be slower. I've played on slower surfaces so I was expecting it's going to be even slower what I heard from last year from the girls.
"I would say it's somewhere in the middle. For the serve I think it's pretty fast, but when you play the rally it's not that fast.
"Hopefully for the crowd they are going to see some rallies and good shots from the players."
One would expect Radwanska, the defending champion, to have the definitive answer when it came to court speed. The Pole ultimately seemed as mystified as her peers, but if there's one thing the shotmaker knows how to do on any surface, it's improvise:
Q. You were here a couple days ago. One of earliest players here. Have you had a hit on court? Have the conditions changed from last year?
AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA: I think, of course, the surface is very similar [to last year]. It's the same. I think it's a bit faster because it's already been used [this week]. But I don't think it's that slow as last year. That's what I notice.
But, well, it's always a little bit tough for us to play indoors. I think I just play one indoor tournament in Stuttgart and then here. It's good to be here a couple days earlier to adjust to the conditions.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images.