Serena leads ailing women to Singapore for WTA Finals

Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:24am EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The top eight women in world tennis have limped to the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore this week, with creaking knees and form fears casting a shadow over the WTA's latest big tournament push in Asia.

World number one Serena Williams headlines the event, but there are concerns about her fitness after the 33-year-old American quit the Beijing tournament earlier this month because of knee pain.

Williams went to Europe for tests and was one of the last to arrive in Singapore this week but said she was good to go as she bids for a fifth and third consecutive WTA Finals title.

"I’m ready. I really can’t wait for my match. I wish I had a match tomorrow," the 18-times grand slam singles champion said after Saturday's draw.

Fit or not, her appearance at least will lower stress levels at the WTA, still reeling from the retirement of Chinese trailblazer and their biggest marketing tool Li Na weeks before the Singapore event.

Such is the power of Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li, the WTA have ensured she will be front and center to promote their latest tournament in Asia as the continent continues to stump up cash and interest in women's tennis.

Singapore is the 22nd Asia-Pacific stop on the WTA's 58-tournament 2014 calendar, with the health of the Tour looking stronger than ever despite the lack of a title sponsor.

The health of the players, though, is an issue after a lengthy year of demanding tennis and travel saw plenty of retirements and lengthy injuries.   Continued...

Serena Williams of the U.S. returns the ball during her women's singles match against Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic