Bencic points his finger to the Shenzhen court as withdrawals increase
SHENZHEN: Switzerland Belinda Bencic questioned the quality of the court used in the WTA finals when she became the last player to retire from the season finale on Saturday.
Bencic retired midway through the third set of his semifinal against the starter Elina Svitolina to become the fourth player to retire in this year's tournament, which is played on a temporary hard court at the Shenzhen Bay Indoor Sports Center.
He had cramps, said Bencic. I began to feel it at the beginning of the second set, my hamstring. I called the physio. I started having foot cramps and again in the hamstring.
I really didn't want to retire. I wanted to finish the game. It was not possible. I am really disappointed in how my body failed me.
I think these courts are really not ideal. You can see that there were four retreats this week.
The WTA finals , being played in Shenzhen for the first time as part of a 10-year residency in the Chinese city, involves the eight highest-ranked players at the end of the season.
But three of the qualifiers: Naomi Osaka , Bianca Andreescu and Bencic plus alternative Kiki Bertens, were forced to retire for one reason or another during the one-week event.
While Osaka from Japan cited a shoulder injury due to his retirement after the first round of group matches and the Dutch Bertens was ill, Andreescu and Bencic from Canada suffered muscle or joint problems that ended their participation.
Andreescu retired at the end of the first set of his second game in the round robin phase against Karolina Pliskova, and withdrew from the tournament a day later, when he shook his knee trying to complete the return of service.
Bencic added: I don't think I could have done anything better. I think it was just a very long season. I am obviously exhausted.
I think these courts are terrible for the movement of the players and for the muscles because it is like sand. You stop immediately and enter your muscles directly. I think that from the first practice, you can feel that in your body.
Romanian Simona Halep, who was eliminated at the end of the group stage on Friday after her loss to Czech Pliskova, agreed that the speed of the courts was not ideal.
We are all tired after a long year, said the Wimbledon champion. We have to do extra work on the shots and points on this surface. But we have what we have, and that's it. I will not complain about that.
Steve Simon, president and CEO of the WTA, said he would seek to ensure that the court is faster for next year's edition.
The WTA, in consultation with the tournament partners and the field provider, performs a detailed process each year regarding the surface and speed of the field, taking into account the comments of the players throughout the season and after Each edition of the tournament, he said.
Based on comments received this year, I hope we have a faster court in 2020.