In anticipation of the last weeks of the season on the tour, Martina Navratilova, on her blog for the WTA, shared her impressions of the game of the WTA Finals participants, who have issued tickets to the Final Championship this month.
” Naomi Osaka has been the story of this season, given where she comes from and how quickly she has taken off thanks to victories at Indian Wells and of course the US Open. will be one of the favorites in Singapore. And more importantly, this means that the singles tournament will receive a participant from Asia. After all, Li Na retired and never played in the Final tournament when the competition moved to Singapore. But now that Osaka is one of the the world’s leading tennis players, the whole continent will have someone to root for.
Naomi’s Indian Wells victory came literally nowhere. And then, when it seemed like her summer would be a nightmare, she won the US Open. For Osaka, this season was marked and ups and downs, but ups absolutely overshadowed her falls. And I don’t know if anyone else could have handled the US Open finals better than her. It was an impressive picture of how Osaka behaved, showing such great control of emotions, how she held herself in such extremely difficult and unusual circumstances, when the biggest title of her career was on the horizon. And now that she has overcome it so well, she will be ready for anything. Whatever happens on the court in the future, it will seem as simple as shelling pears. That experience, no matter how emotionally painful it may be, will turn out to be a great benefit for her – it can keep her firmly afloat in Singapore and beyond in her career.
Qualification for the Final Tournament will also give Elina Svitolina a chance to save her season. The court in Singapore is perfect for her. Previously, she had failed to break through at the Majors or the Final Tournament. But if Svitolina gets to Singapore and ends her performance as a champion, it will be a great end of the year for her, which will also be a good help for the new season.
Performing at the WTA Finals in Singapore gives you the opportunity to end the year on a positive note. Petra Kvitova has already had a fantastic year. Now she can make him even more successful if she wins the title in the Final Tournament. After she was attacked at home, we weren’t even sure if Kvitova would ever be able to play again. But here she is, a top-class tennis player again. Petra is not just competing on the tour, she is winning titles, and for that we are all very grateful.
At the big tournaments, Kvitova is too excited. She knows that she needs to relax, so she will allow herself to show her best tennis. She tries so hard and it means so much to her that sometimes these factors become an obstacle in her path. But in my opinion this is a good problem.
Be me Sloane Stevens, I would jump out of my pants to play in Singapore. This is a great cover for her. It’s slow enough to reach most of the balls, but Stevens also has enough strength to shoot through. If Stevens wins the title, she will turn her season into a great one. She reached the final at Roland Garros, but lost to Halep, so Sloane hasn’t fully revealed herself this year. The final tournament is on the next step after the majors in terms of prestige and importance, so Stevens can end this year with an exclamation mark.
Karolina Plishkova is also one of the contenders for a place in the top eight. After the US Open final in 2016, we thought that Carolina would win one of the Grand Slam titles by this time or the Final. But, to her surprise, Plishkova after that did not play in any final at the majors. It’s disappointing that after she was so high when she climbed to # 1 in the rankings, she didn’t manage to stay even close at the same level. I do not know why Plishkova did not live up to our, and even more so, her expectations. I only know that every time she shoots the ball, I hold my breath because I’m not sure if it will be a great winner or a blunder. I mean, Plishkova takes the ball pretty flat and powerful, but still … is that the only reason?
I know that Plishkova is charged with playing on the inside, but from the outside she looks like she almost doesn’t care. I know it isn’t, but this is how it looks. As calm and relaxed as Roger Federer may look between draws, you can definitely see and feel its intensity during a draw. What I sometimes do not see in the drawings with the participation of Plishkova. Sometimes I do not see this intensity, this charge during her play. You can act both smoothly and intensely, there is this fine line. If you are very assertive in your actions, if you apply too much effort, then the game will not go with the flow, you can lose the rhythm, smoothness of the game. Conversely, if you are too relaxed and free, then it also won’t work. Tennis is such a dynamic, explosive sport and I feel that Plishkova has not yet found this perfect balance between relaxation and intensity.
Whatever the final line-up of the tournament, I am sure it will be a worthy end to another great and unpredictable season in the WTA. “