Serena Williams decided at the start of the month that her 2015 season was over. Sort of over. By over, Serena meant she wouldn’t be playing in any sanctioned WTA events including the year-end Finals in Singapore which began today.
But she would, body and mind willing, be available to pick up a ton of cash playing the IPTL Asian exo series in December.
And can you blame her?
Sure, the WTA will slap Serena with a hefty fine ($125K reported) and she’ll lose a chance at winning a big pot at Singapore, but she’ll make all that up and a lot more by playing the exos, and she does it on her terms, playing without pressure and in a relaxed environment.
Who wouldn’t want to do that after a grueling, emotional season? And it’s common sentiment among top players this time of year as the very best can make so much more playing exos with half the effort than they would slogging it out on the regular tour.
So Serena decided to shorten the season herself. She decided to play what she wants, regardless of tour rules and policies.
And the WTA response:
“I think she’s injured, no doubt about it, and I think that if your body is already hurting, to fly to the other side of the world makes little sense,” WTA President Mickey Lawler told the NY Times. “What makes it hard is that at the end of the year, she’s going to want to get some match practice and play a few sets here and there, and that is perceived by the public not in the most positive light. We understand it. Yes, we don’t like it, but we understand it.”
Translation: “Have fun, Serena! Don’t hurt yourself carrying all that money home. See you in 2016!”
Seriously, though, we all understand it, it’s just this situation further proves the WTA is powerless against the top stars. They admit Serena’s the one in charge here, she has all the leverage and they don’t want to do anything to upset her.
Instead of taking action like maybe suspending her if she skips Singapore and plays the IPTL, the WTA has virtually given their biggest star the all clear to do what she wants, when she wants and where she wants. And the result is the WTA’s crowning event is missing arguably the biggest draw in women’s sports on the planet.
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