More surgery for star-crossed Paszek

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Austrian Tamira Paszek, whose once-promising career has turned out to be a star-crossed struggle of major proportions, is having surgery again.

Still just 26, she won her first WTA Tour title as a 15-year-old in Portoroz. But in recent years, she has struggled.

Paszek posted this on Instagram Monday, without specifying the nature of the surgery (it turned out to be on her foot)

A year ago, she had surgeries to address issues with her tonsils and sinuses, which led to the diagnosis of a rare disorder called trigeminal neuralgia.

Paszek talks about that here. She said she hoped to return in 2018.  

Wozniacki leads October WTA Awards

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No surprise, WTA Tour Finals champion Caroline Wozniacki was named the WTA Tour’s Player of the Month  for October.

And there was a deserving win for the under-the-radar Magdalena Rybarikova for Shot of the Month, after she hit three or four shorts worthy of the moniker in a single point in Linz against Barbora Strycova.

For her efforts in Moscow and Zhuhai, veteran Julia Goerges won the “Breakthrough Performance of the Month” award. 

With the victory in Zhuhai, the 29-year-old reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 14.

Hingis will retire No. 1 in the rankings

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It was almost a foregone conclusion. But it was made official Friday.

Whatever happens in the rest of the doubles event at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, Martina Hingis will end her illustrious career ranked No. 1.

Can’t ask for a better ending.

The No. 1 doubles ranking, the WTA reminds us, is “presented by Dubai Duty Free”.

Hingis and partner Yung-Jan Chan are the fifth team in WTA history to finish the year as co-world No. 1s. Hingis did it with former partner Sania Mirza in 2015.

The WTA looks back at her career.

Drawing blindfolded, with Karolina

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The WTA Tour has some interesting ideas about what fans want to see from their players, as they try to promote them off the court.

So in the grand scheme of the “put a cracker on your forehand and try to get it in your mouth without using your hands” experiment at last year’s WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, getting Karolina Pliskova to try to draw various objects blindfolded probably isn’t the worst idea they’ve ever had.

At least she was a good sport about it.

Take every week seriously – Martina

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Martina Navratilova’s take on the emphasis switch in recent years from the weekly tournaments to the majors might help explain why so many players are having consistency issues.

“You can’t say ‘I don’t mind what happens after you lose a match’, and say ‘I just want to be sure I’m 100 per cent for the French Open. … This is not a warm-up event. … So take a little more pride in the Tour because without that, you’ve got nothing,” Navratilova told the WTA Insider podcast.

“The warm-up is the practice. The practice week or exhibition is the warm-up”.

Zhuhai Elite Trophy field is set

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The 2017 Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) field was finalized Wednesday.

Two Grand Slam champions, Sloane Stephens and Angelique Kerber, will be there.

Also competing will be Kristina Mladenovic, Coco Vandeweghe, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Anastasija Sevastova, Elena Vesnina, Julia Goerges, Ashleigh Barty, Magdalena Rybarikova, Barbora Strycova and wild card Shuai Peng.

Barty and Vesnina are playing doubles in Singapore this week.

Missing among those technically eligible are Svetlana Kuznetsova, Madison Keys and … Serena Williams.

Those annoying WTA Tour website ads

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When you head to the WTA Tour website for some information on your favorite player, you certainly don’t expect to be bombarded with ads from their sponsors.

But that’s been the unwelcome development this year. You click on a news story – and all of a sudden you have to listen to Caroline Wozniacki warbling about shopping for a watch for her father.

Or she’s touting the benefits of the official WTA Tour supplement.

This doesn’t happen on the ATP Tour site, the PGA Tour site, or any of the four major US sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL). 

Red, white black for annual Tour Finals pic

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Just guessing. But you’d have to think a memo went out for this year’s iconic WTA Tour Finals group shot that the colour scheme was red, black, white.

Perhaps “knee-length” also was mentioned. 

And most of the players seemed to go along. Although first-timer Elina Svitolina missed the memo on both the colour scheme, and the length. But as glamorous as she looks, and being a rookie, she gets a mulligan.

Caroline Wozniacki went rogue with – gasp!! – pants! But given the Dane had all three colours covered, she also gets a pass.

Good pic.

Singapore alternates still TBD

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Jo Konta is officially the first alternate for the WTA Tour finals in Singapore next week.

It’s the second time the Brit has found herself in that position – not a great spot.

But with Konta nursing an injury, it’s hard to know if she will even make the long trip. Konta also intends to play the second-tier final in Zhuhai the following week.

The second alternate will be either Kristina Mladenovic, whose knee injury has hampered her fall efforts or Coco Vandeweghe, who retiredin Beijing.

It was only the American’s second match since the US Open.

Garcia leads WTA’s September awards

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When you win the Premier 5 in Wuhan and the Premier Mandatory in Beijing back-to-back, you most definitely deserve some extra hardware.

And so France’s Caroline Garcia was justly rewarded with the WTA Tour’s player of the month award for September.

That Beijing took place in October is immaterial, as the WTA tends to be rather flexible on its calendar delineations.

Ashleigh Barty, who reached the Wuhan final, won “breakthrough player of the month” and Agnieszka Radwanska won “shot of the month”.