An Ideal WTA Calendar — Must-click women’s tennis links

The IX: Tennis Tuesday with Joey Dillon, Oct. 17, 2023

Howdy, y’all and Happy Tennis Tuesday! We’re gearing towards the end of the season and honestly, I’m tired. I don’t know if it’s just me, but the season has just dragged on longer than it usually does and we still have just under a month left until the Billie Jean King Cup Finals. That made me think an important question: Yes, the WTA calendar sucks, but can it be remedied?

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I then saw this tweet and it got the brain movin’:

Starting the season in Asia, instead of at the end, is an interesting place to begin simply because the weather in China come January gets cold. I like the idea of starting the first week or two in the Middle East — there’s plenty of year-end exhibitions there and we’ve had tournaments kick off the season in 2021 with Abu Dhabi and the Australian Open qualifying event held there. Turning the China swing into an indoor surface? I don’t see it happening, but the WTA put much of their chips into China, so they’d have to figure out a way to make that work.

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Pushing the Australian Open summer a couple of weeks can be done, but two problems exist here. The first is that the Australian Open coincides with school being out, so students and families can attend. The warmup tournaments can be attended, but the crown jewel when school is in session could see a drastic decline in attendance. The second is the weather can get a bit hotter than it already does, so do you risk player health too?

Of Juan Ignacio’s calendar, to me, that was the biggest difference. What I really love about his vision is that — for the most part — the clay, grass and North American hardcourt swings stay in their normal timeslots. Also, the added tournaments or upgraded WTA 125 events to 250s makes this a lot more logistical calendar which was something Daria Kasatkina vented about in a recent vlog:

This calendar gives a long break for the players, which most will find necessary to recover and also train for the next year. Tennis’ calendar is simply too long and players complaining is nothing new. The calendar was shortened in the past and then players would use the break to play exhibitions all over the world — Mexico, Argentina, all over Europe, India, Asia, you name it. How can the tour regulate players’ off-season activity? Can they even?

Another reason why I think this calendar is genius is because the way the WTA calendar is currently, it’s beyond unsustainable for the environment. Barbora Krejcikova will go from China to Mexico to Spain in a three week span. The carbon emissions the tour simply wastes, compared to the ATP who is trying to figure out ways to solve their global footprint, is astounding.

Would the WTA adopt a calendar more accommodating to players, as well as the environment? I think eventually, sure, especially if an ATP merge ever happens. Would they go as far as Juan Ignacio’s attempt? Absolutely not. Three months of an off-season would be too long and I personally think the WTA’s dealings with China are already frayed and moving tournaments around would be a disaster legally.

Just a thought but hey, we’re always thinking here. Onto links!

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This Week in Women’s Tennis

Hoping and praying this won’t be happening — especially given recent events:

TW: sexual abuse; A complaint was filed against the U.S. Center for Safesport to specifically sanction USTA General Counsel Staciellen Mischel, who allegedly told a victim, as well as Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, to be cautious about discussing sexual abuse in tennis.

Zheng Qinwen captured her second WTA singles title with a three-set win over Barbora Krejcikova at the Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open. She then gave the Zhengzhou crowd a show after the trophy ceremony:

The doubles title went to US Open champions Erin Routliffe and IX Friend Gabriela Dabrowski, who qualified for the WTA Finals after defeating Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama.

A resurgent Leylah Fernandez won her first title since 2022 Monterrey by outlasting Katerina Siniakova to win the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open. The biggest surprise of the week came from Tang Qianhui and Tsao Chia Yi, who barely got into the draw on their own ranking to stun No.3 seeds Oksana Kalashnikova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich to win their first WTA title.

Jessica Pegula won her second title of 2023 at the Hana Bank Korea Open, defeating first-time WTA finalist Yue Yuan for the crown. She then penned to social media the significance of the win as a Korean-American:

Marie Bouzkova won her second consecutive doubles title, this time with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. They routed the all-Thai duo of Luksika Kumkhum and Peangtarn Plipuech.

At the WTA 125 Open Capfinances Rouen Métropole in France, Viktorija Golubic followed her 2022 runner-up finish with a championship by downing qualifier Erika Andreeva. In doubles, Maia Lumsden and Jessika Ponchet upset top seeds Anna Bondar and Kimberley Zimmermann for the biggest title of their careers.

Barbora Krejcikova overtook Madison Keys to be the second alternate at the WTA Finals, but will also be the top seed at the WTA Elite Trophy next week.

50 years after her groundbreaking Battle of the Sexes win, Billie Jean King is still busier than you and I and she’s fine with her continued travels to promote women’s sports.

I’ve discussed this plenty in the past, but we still. need. more. female coaches. coaching. in. the. WTA.

Don’t expect Garbine Muguruza to appear at any tournaments anytime soon as the former World No. 1 has no plans to get back to training since taking a hiatus earlier this year.

Want to feel old? Lindsay Davenport’s son committed to play college tennis:

Former WTA CEO and current US Open Tournament Director Stacey Allaster was recognized by the Women’s Sports Foundation with the Billie Jean King Leadership Award.

Maria Sharapova had some interesting things of where the WTA stands nowadays, which I found a little surprising.

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Tweet of the Week

The Western & Southern Open is staying in Cincinnati for the next 25 years after a threatened move to Charlotte!

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Joey Dillon