Muguruza, Krejčíková, and Siniaková ended up victorious in the Finals, and the WTA makes a stand for the safety of the players. (Content warning for brief discussions of sexual assault.)
Garbiñe Muguruza, Barbora Krejčíková, and Kateřina Siniaková all won big at the WTA Finals, with the former clinching the singles title and the latter two winning in the doubles division. Muruguza, a former No. 1 in singles, had a couple of bumps in her road to the final––she lost a match against Karolína Plíšková and struggled mightily against Barbora Krejčíková in the group stage––but quickly showed her quality in the next two matches, even winning against Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa in the semis. From there, it was smooth sailing. She dispatched Anett Kontaveit in straight sets, becoming the first Spanish player ever to win the trophy.
Meanwhile, Czech duo Krejčíková and Siniaková won the doubles title, dispatching the dynamic duo of Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens in the final match. Not only did this game lock up their fifth title of the season, but it also allowed Siniaková to snatch the No. 1 doubles spot from Hsieh. “I’m just really happy that we have another title, and looking forward we going to continue [sic] with our cooperation in Wimbledon and also for the Olympics,” said Krejčíková after the win. “I hope there’s going to be a bright future for us.”
While the Finals were enjoyable to watch, what’s happening with the WTA off the court is anything but. Peng Shuai’s safety is still a massive concern, and the implications of her disappearance right after she bravely revealed herself to be a survivor of sexual assault are unsettling at best. But a shred of hope can be found in the WTA’s response to the situation: the immediate suspension of all China-based tournaments. By taking action, the WTA is making a commitment to protect and support players who are survivors. In a world where sports league higher-ups tend to be more worried about their bottom line rather than their athletes’ well-being, it’s a relief that they cleared this (admittedly low) bar.
Circling back to on-court events, tennis fans only have a month to breathe until the 2022 Tour kicks off on January 3 with the Adelaide International. Next year will see the return of stars such as Emma Raducanu, Ash Barty, and Naomi Osaka, which will probably get casual fans and tennis novices hyped. All signs point to yet another thrilling and widely-watched season for the WTA, but no matter what happens on the court, the true measure of the WTA’s success will be in whether they will follow through on their word to look out for their players first and foremost.