IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.
This fall has been very busy, and I’ve felt very detached from the tennis scene in a personal and professional sense.
But, you guys, I. AM. BACK. It is time for the WTA Championships and I could not be more excited. The Top 8 singles players and the Top 4 doubles teams are all gathered together to dress up and take pictures and party and then play tennis. And it is awesome.
The official 2013 #WTAChamps Iconic photo! Retweet if you're excited for play to begin! #tennis pic.twitter.com/oyvUIbzhu1
— WTA (@WTA) October 20, 2013
Srecan rodjendan mom bratu Marku! Voli te sestra pic.twitter.com/ORzenh0bwa
— Jelena Jankovic (@jelena_jankovic) October 20, 2013
Ready for the party. Thanks to Lilou and Agnieszka Maciejak! #WTAChamps pic.twitter.com/1jUQEItrar
— Aga Radwanska (@ARadwanska) October 20, 2013
Let’s talk about the outfits for just a second. I absolutely love this photo shoot. I look forward to it every single year. It might be hypocritical, because I often get angry at the WTA for advertising that relies to heavily on sex appeal and makeup, but this seems appropriate because it’s a formal event at the end of the year and therefore requires a bit of decorum.
It’s really fun to see everyone dressed up and look so different from their on-court attire, and it’s always revealing and entertaining to see the individual personalities come through in the clothes.
Usually there are multiple complete fashion disasters, but I didn’t really think that was the case this year. I like Kerber and her attitude in the fancy pants. Serena is pure VA-VA-VOOM. Vika looks like she was draped in a tent, but at least her hair is absolutely killer, and at least there’s no leopard print. Kvitova looks…well, she looks like she’s really coming into her own, worm and all. She absolutely owns that blue dress. I’d like to see Aga in color, but she looks hot. The short dress is PERFECT on Errani, who looked swallowed whole and uncomfortable in the gown she wore last year. And Li Na? Perfection.
Honestly, I might just be so overcome with excitement that there’s no room for snark. (There’s a first time for everything.)
But you guys, I really just want to talk about Jelena Jankovic. THE EMPRESS. Jankovic made the WTA Championships for four straight years from 2007-2011, but it has been two bleak and dark years since she has graced the stage at the last event of the year. But Glitter Queen is back among the best of the game where she belongs, and it is GLORIOUS. After a couple of years of granny dresses and soul-sucking buns, she lets her hair down and puts on a short dress full of sparkle and bright red lipstick. She looks amazing.
And she is here to party. She tore up the dance floor with Nadia Petrova (who is there for doubles) by her side.
What did we ever do without her?
Okay, enough of that. I suppose it’s time to get down to business. Tennis.
RED GROUP: Williams, Radwanska, Kvitova & Kerber
WHITE GROUP: Azarenka, Li, Errani, & Jankovic
Not ideal, but not terrible.
I’m very disappointed that Vika and Petra aren’t in the same group–they haven’t played each other since the 2011 WTA Championships final, which Petra won in three sets. I also hate that Radwanska is in Serena’s group, because that’s just a horrible match-up. However, there could be some fun matches in the round-robin stage. I’m most looking forward to Serena/Petra, Kerber/Aga, Vika/Li, and Errani/JJ.
I can’t wait to see what The Surprise Match is. Every year at the WTA Championships there seems to be one match that nobody expects to be great, but that steals the show. Last year that was the Azarenka/Kerber masterpiece. It has to be said that the absence of Sharapova and Bartoli (COME BACK NOW) takes away a few intriguing matches, but I have no doubt that there will be plenty of great tennis to talk about.
Mostly, I’m looking forward to/hoping for a Vika-Serena final, and I would like for it to be a classic one, please. 2013 deserves that. Let’s hope that Serena has enough gas in her tank and Vika has snapped out of her post-USO funk.
And I’m looking forward to the drama. You know there will be drama. I CAN’T WAIT.
To get fully pumped up for Istanbul, I asked friends on Twitter to share their favorite memories from past WTA Championships. As always, you guys didn’t disappoint. I’m only blogging about a few (I’M SORRY, I SUCK), but please leave other favorite moments in the comments. Let’s make it a party.
1. The Stosur Shank of all Stosur Shanks. (2012)
@linzsports For sure. Samantha Jane Stosur and her kick serve. Extreme version (2012 v Errani – group stage) – http://t.co/YQHTiNM3FJ
— Álvaro Rama (@alvarorama) October 18, 2013
2. The Radwanksa sisters laughing and dancing from the stands–I believe it was throughout a MTO. (2009) https://twitter.com/vrcsports/statuses/391015005010681856
3. Crampniacki. (2009)
@linzsports Caro winning despite crazy cramping, forever and always. Still think that moment is so underrated.
— Brodie (@MindTheRacket) October 18, 2013
It really was epic, you guys. Look at this header.
And, just watch this whole video. Legendary.
#NeverForget 4. RUN, NINJA. RUUUN. (2012)
@linzsports Also: Maria Sharapova bellowing RUN RUN at the top of her lungs at Radwanska last year in Istanbul. http://t.co/3DCqtsVrVF
— RenÃ© (@Renestance) October 18, 2013
On that note, watch the highlights from that match. I’d forgotten how fun that one was.
5. A Classic Clash of the Sisters. (2009)
@linzsports serena and venus had a great match there in 09 I think…
— Tony (@tjc05) October 18, 2013
Yes. That match was AWESOME.
Okay, so it’s your turn. What did you think about the outfits? What round-robin match are you most looking forward to? Can anyone stop a Vika/Serena final? What are your favorite WTA Championship memories?
We’ll have coverage of the tournament all week here at The Changeover. I promise. We’re pumped.
I was also gutted that Vika-Petra were not in the same group, but then realised we get Serena-Petra indoors which should be pretty great. Vika-Petra in the semi-finals / final is still a possibility so I live in hope. I also think Vika-Li will be fascinating as they haven’t played since that Aus Open final drama. I expect Serena to win the whole caboodle, but Kvitova will be the surprise act and make the final.
Gangnam style — with the heels she was wearing? Holy Louboutin!
As for Marion, I can’t think of when I’ve seen someone rock retirement with so much gusto. Credit to her for heeding the instinct to move on — it’s fun seeing her have so much fun, and wouldn’t it be cool to have Hingis v. Bartoli in WTT next summer?
Love the end of this sentence: “Kvitova looks…well, she looks like she’s really coming into her own, worm and all.”
I’m still amazed a year later that Sharapova never got a hindrance call for her “Run! Run!” yell.
No Vika-Petra? Semifinals, you thoughtless people!
And we are probably getting Serena-Petra. Honestly! *miffed*
In that match in 2009 on Wozniacki vs Zvonareva, I am surprised that Zvonareva did not incorporate the drop shot especially having the break point. In that group, Safina started out playing but had to w/d due to injury which Zvonareva was the alternate which ended up being the only match she played. After Zvonareva w/d, A Radwanska played the 3rd match. Wozniacki got pummeled by Jankovic in the last RR match but advanced to the SF as A Radwanska defeated Azarenka. Wozniacki w/d in the SF against S Williams after the first set.
I see 2 of the top 5 in this article was from Wozniacki vs Zvonareva match as the Radwanska sisters were spectators during a MTO by Zvonareva.
I’m waiting for that Serena-Petra match.Petra’s been improving lately and I’d would like to see her playing her best against Serena’s best.
Also I’d love for someone to prevent a Serena-azarenka final…contrary to the general view, I’m not too excited about a repeat of this year’s USO.
As for the dresses uhm : Serena looks GORGEOUS as always. Azarenka – hideous outfit.Aga and Angie look good!Sara, wow what a nice dress can do to her body and face, beautiful.
Petra, problems with fitting but nice overall.And JJ is the queen of the world.
Semifinalists from the Red group: Williams, Radwanksa
White group: Azarenka, Jankovic
Semis: Williams d. Jankovic, Azarenka d. Radwanska
Final: Azarenka d. Williams.
YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST FOLKS
How can you talk about drama at the YEC and not mention the Vera v Venus match and the meltdown of Vera. That was not even so bad, what was hilarious was the look on BJK’s face and Venus when Vera started falling apart. Legendary Venus in full flight and winning her first year end title
A small moment but after JJ lost to Vika in one of the first matches at one of the Doha YEC, Vika gave a great, sarcastic response along the lines of ‘I’m glad she gave me the match, it worked out well for me!’
I’m very excited for this event!
 Serena Williams vs  Angelique Kerber
 Maria Sharapova vs  Sara Errani
 Petra Kvitova vs  Agnieszka Radwanska
Please make your prediction in a FULL RESULT (eg. Serena 6-4 6-4) and I will award 2 points for correct winner and 1 point for guessing the no. of sets.
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