Instead of a celebration of the best of women’s tennis, we get lame players (both Serena and Ana have pulled with injuries) and empty stands. What should be a spectacle and a treat has become a bummer for fans and an embarrassment for the WTA tour. So remind me – why are we doing this, again?
It’s not even the withdrawals that are bugging me – at this point in the season, my expectations are pretty low. What really drives me crazy is seeing how few people are turning out in Qatar to watch the matches. From what I’ve seen on television, the crowd amounts to a bored school group sitting in the rafters and a cluster of even less-interested coaches sighing and grumbling courtside. And these are evening matches! I don’t care if I’m in my living room or the stadium – it’s no fun watching a big match without a big crowd to go along with it. If neither the players nor the public are supporting an event, I must be a sucker for even tuning in. The men’s Masters Cup has dealt with similar issues, but next year’s move to a London venue should alleviate at least some of the problems.
The WTA needs to change things up, and I’ve found at least three solutions for them:
1. Move the event to Montreal, where the Tier 1 tournament is always jam-packed.
2. Cancel the thing altogether and count on one hand those who complain about it
3. Crash the party in London and make the year end championships a joint event – which is such a great idea that I’m sure it will never happen in a million years.
Who knows, maybe the Venus Williams v. Jelena Jankovic semi will be so good tomorrow that I’ll change my curmudgeonly ways. I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.