Dhe mandatory selfie was not taken this year. The cherished tradition of the eight best tennis players of the year rushing cheek to cheek for a guaranteed high-reach photo may not seem entirely up-to-date to the organizers of the WTA Finals in Corona times. There were still beautiful pictures. Of the eight participants in festive evening wear, for example, posing with a trophy in front of the illuminated Zapopan Church in Guadalajara.
The female elite of the end of the tennis season are gathering for their traditional end of the year in Mexico this time. This fact is also ultimately due to the pandemic. In September, the professional organization WTA was looking for an alternative venue for the final event after Shenzhen withdrew due to the Corona situation in China. So now the players in singles and doubles will serve in Guadalajara from Wednesday. The winners will be announced a week later.
The WTA Finals are a restless event, trapped in a nomadic existence for a long time. After starting out in Florida in the early 1970s, the tournament moved via Los Angeles and Oakland to New York, where it was held in Madison Square Gardens for more than two decades. Then began a 20-year wandering. Via Munich, again LA, Madrid, Doha and Istanbul to Singapore and finally to Shenzhen. The journey was to come to a temporary end there.
The tournament had been awarded here for ten years. China’s desire for a high-class tennis event and the plan of the WTA marketing department to finally open up the Asian continent had complemented each other perfectly. But after the pandemic had already prevented it from taking place in 2020, the WTA did not want to do without its supposed season highlight for another year.
The best of the year compete in Guadalajara, with world number one and Wimbeldon winner Ashleigh Barty missing, as well as Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka and US Open winner Emma Raducanu. Of the eight players who reached a Grand Slam final this year, only the two Czechs Barbora Kreijcikova and Karolina Pliskova are there. And so one thing is as always in women’s tennis in recent years: There is no clear favorite.