WTA trophy

‘I’d happily play on the Moon!’ – star will do anything to compete at WTA Finals

While Ashleigh Barty is said to be contemplating not playing in this year’s WTA Finals, another prospect is determined to play the event.

Barty’s coach, Craig Tyzzer, suggested that the world number one might not play in Guadalajara in November because playing at altitude (the city sits 1,550 metres above sea level) would be extremely challenging for the world’s leading women.

“In conditions they’ve never played, in a country they don’t play and at altitude, I just feel it’s ridiculous,” Tyzzer was reported to have told the Australian Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic, who still has an outside chance of qualifying despite standing in 17th place in the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals, will do everything she can to play the tournament.

“I would be very happy to make it to the top eight in the Race,” the 24-year-old Swiss said.

“I wouldn’t mind if we played on the Moon! It might be a little bit different to usual [in Guadalajara], but when I played in the last WTA Finals in Shenzhen I found the conditions were very special. It was the slowest court I’ve ever played on.”

Bencic reached the semi-finals in her only previous appearance at the event in Shenzhen, China in 2019.

“If I get to Guadalajara it will probably be the highest altitude I’ve ever played at, so it will just be different,” Bencic continued.

“We’re tennis players. We always have to adapt to different conditions. Every week it might look very similar on TV, but it’s not. We’re used to always having to adapt.”

Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Pliskova have already earned enough points to secure their places in the year-end Finals.

But the other four singles spots, currently held by Iga Swiatek, Maria Sakkari, Garbine Muguruza and Naomi Osaka, are still up for grabs.