Take every week seriously – Martina

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

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

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

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

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

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”.

Stubbsie and Pliskova team up

Karolina Pliskova is currently coachless.

But that doesn’t mean she’ll head to the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore all by her lonesome.

The WTA Tour’s Insider Twitter account reports the world No. 4 will work with  television commentator Rennae Stubbs during the tournament.

Stubbs, now 46, was a bit too mercurial to be a consistent singles player (she peaked at No. 64). But she had a glorious career as a pure serve-volley doubles star that lasted from 1986 to 2011 and included four Olympics and 60 titles.

It’s surprising she hasn’t gotten into the coaching game – even temporarily – before this.

Wozniacki qualifies for Singapore

Only two spots remain in the race to Singapore.

Caroline Wozniacki sealed her spot Saturday, becoming the sixth player to qualify for the singles event at the WTA Tour finals.

She joins Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Venus Williams.

Eliminated from contention in Beijing this weekend were Svetlana Kuznetsova, Anastasija Sevastova and Kristina Mladenovic. Mladenovic has lost her last nine first-round matches.

With a win over Samantha Stosur in her first match in Beijing, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko would be next.

Tough one for Kimiko Date in finale

It wasn’t the way Kimiko Date wanted to go out.

She made her last appearance in pro tennis Tuesday before a full house at the Tokyo International – and was double-bageled by Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

Krunic felt terribly about it

“I don’t like that I had to be the one,” said Krunic, who bowed after the win. “I want to apologize that this was not the result you guys were all hoping for. When I’ll go to the locker probably I will cry but so far, I’m trying to stay tough.”

Kvitova donates tennis clubhouse

In the “giving back” department, Petra Kvitova has donated a new clubhouse to the tennis club in her hometown of Fulnek, Czech Republic.

Kvitova started playing tennis on those courts, and her father Jiří Kvita still plays there.

Kvitova’s older brother Libor is the head coach and manager of the club.

The Czech lefty, who lost to Venus Williams in a dazzling quarterfinal at the US Open, has pulled out of Tokyo next week. Next up is Wuhan, which she has won twice and where she is the defending champion.