Johanna Konta’s spot in the field in Singapore swung on a single match.
Upon winning the Kremlin Cup in Moscow this past weekend, Svetlana Kuznetsova moved in front of the 24-year-old a day before the WTA Finals began.
World No. 10 Konta was already in Singapore, but she could not participate in all of the pre-tournament activities because she had not officially qualified for the field. Her fellow players didn't like seeing her in that position.
"We were joking a little bit,” recalled Garbine Muguruza, speaking at her pre-tournament press conference. "I think it's so tough for both of them. For sure Johanna is thinking, ‘Oh, if she wins I'm not going to be able to play.’ The other one is like, ‘If I win, I qualify.’"
Konta played it down, instead praising Kuznetsova.
“I will just look to make the most of my week here," she told the WTA's official site, "make it a good training week, keep myself ready if I need to play. But otherwise, enjoy the tennis ... But I don’t think people quite realize how impressive it is, what Kuznetsova did in Moscow ... To go into a tournament knowing what the result could mean, to be able to achieve what she did.”
Madison Keys suggested that there might be a need for more time between regular WTA tournaments and the WTA Finals.
“I think we all, kind of, definitely felt for her,” Keys said. "...I definitely think it has to be something that's addressed ... I don't think waiting until the day before we play is the best way to find out if you're in the tournament or not.”
World No. 1 Angelique Kerber, who has chased the final spot herself in previous years, agreed.
“For sure it's not the best, the best feeling," she said. "I'm sure that the WTA is also, like, thinking how to change this.”