Simon Reed

WTA Champs a flawed success

Simon Reed

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After the first day of the WTA Championship event in Doha I was worried that the whole tournament was going to be a disaster.

To be fair though, it did pick up as the event went on and it started to feel like a major tournament come the end.

There were still some things I didn't like about the tournament though. They have to do something about the format so we don't have a situation like we did on the Friday when effectively none of the matches meant anything at all.

You can play around with the format when the tournament has started and move the order of the matches around if needs be; I don't see why it has to all be set in stone, it never works that way in the men's tournament.

Also, the absence of the Williams sisters, in particular Serena, was felt, and I think it is says something about the state of the women's game that Kim Clijsters was able to win the tournament despite only playing to about 85 per cent of her top level at a time when she is effectively a part-time player these days.

There were positives to take from the tournament too though. I think the event really needed to have a good final and I feel we got that between Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki.

I also feel the local promoters did a better job this year of generating publicity and interest although I do think things will improve to an even greater extent next year when the event moves to Istanbul.

It is tough to promote an event in the Middle East because there really isn't much of an appetite for the sport out there. They have been flooded with it in the last few years but still people don't go and watch it.

I can understand completely why the WTA has had the event over there the last couple of years though because money talks. I have not been told the exact figures but I've heard it pretty much sets the association up for the rest of the year.

Now the event moves to Istanbul for similar reasons. Anyone who watched Britain's Davis Cup match with Turkey this year can tell you that the Turks are not much of a tennis nation, but they do at least love their sport there which could make a big difference.

They are very passionate about football and basketball and I feel they can get excited about the WTA Championship too if it is marketed properly.

I know that Markus Guenthardt, who is the tournament director for the always excellent WTA Stuttgart event, is going to be heavily involved in the Istanbul event which fills me with confidence that next year's tournament can be a success.

I just hope they keep the ticket prices reasonable so that the locals can afford to come out and watch the action.

Watch highlights from the WTA Championship in Doha set to music of Martin Solveig & Dragonette via the video below.

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