100 Days to Go - BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore 2015

By Dylan Mah

Just a month after the Southeast Asian Games, the exuberant energy that lifted the nation to 259 medals seems like a shadow of a distant past. While hundreds of thousands poured into the Singapore Sports Hub within the two weeks in June, the mega sport facility along the Marina Bay is back to its usual lively charm along, leaving us wondering when the next surge of energy will be.

The next mega sporting event, to be held at the Singapore Sports Hub across 10 days, will take place between 23rd October and 1st November 2015. The BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global is a stellar showcase of sport and entertainment, with the top eight singles players and doubles teams of women’s tennis headlining the spectacle.

In the inaugural event last year, we saw Serena Williams clinch her third straight season-ending championships crown, dismissing Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-0, with a masterful performance in the final; in what appeared to be a routine tennis class, it was almost puzzling that young Romanian had earlier routed the eventual champion 6-0, 6-2 in the round-robin stages. So what could we expect this year? Beyond just the top eight singles players and doubles team, Singapore could potentially play a part in tennis history. Williams, 34, has already shattered two records just half way into the season:


Infographic and statistics of Serena Williams to date

What could be on the line, is for Williams to win the last of the four Grand Slam, the US Open in September and then cap off her season with her sixth WTA Finals title. This has never been achieved and is no regular feat. The four Grand Slams are played on different surfaces and atmospherics, against the top 128 players in the world. Winning them all within a single season means that you are the undisputed champion; you are unfaltering in the face of your contemporaries of varying playstyles, having an indomitable spirit and stamina all year round, while withstanding the pressures of public expectations. Quite simply, you are in a class of your own.

If the possibility of witnessing this history does not thrill you, another legendary figure is set to play in Singapore. Martina Hingis, a former youth prodigy, holds a significant number of “youngest-ever” records to her name, though it may not come as a surprise if some have not heard of her name. After all, her achievements largely came before Williams shook the tennis world. At 35 years of age in 2015, Hingis is:

  • The youngest ever to win a junior Grand Slam title (1993, French Open, at 12 years old – her opponents were up to 18 years old)
  • The youngest ever to win a Grand Slam title (1996, Wimbledon at 15 years and 9 months, with Helena Sukova, in Women’s Doubles)
  • The youngest player in the 21st century to win a Grand Slam singles title (1997, Australian open at 16 years and  3 months)
  • The youngest ever to be ranked number one in singles (1997 at 16 years and 5 months)
  • The youngest to win a Wimbledon Singles title (1997, at 16 years and 8 months)


Sania Mirza (Left) & Martina Hingis (right)
Photo Credits: Getty Images

In stark contrast to Williams’ gladiator-like physical prowess, Hingis is a master in finesse and tactics, dictating play with placement, deft touches and court strategies. Such skills are arguably inherent in gifted individuals, which can hardly be trained for.

While Hingis is no longer actively competing in the singles on the tour, her skills are still clearly evident in her a doubles-double act at Wimbledon last week, winning the women’s doubles with Sania Mirza and the mixed doubles with Leander Paes – her 17th and 18th career Grand Slam titles.   

By virtue of her performance at Wimbledon, we will be able to see her genius at work in Singapore in a 100 days.

 

 

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