Serena could skip WTA Finals in Singapore
Coach Mouratoglou raises prospect of Serena missing WTA Finals in Singapore
If Patrick Mouratoglou had his way, Serena Williams will play no more tennis this year.
And that will be a huge blow for Singapore fans and the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, which is scheduled to be held at the Indoor Stadium from Oct 23 to Nov 1.
In an interview with American network ESPN, Williams' French coach Mouratoglou said that the world No. 1 was intensely disappointed after missing out on a fifth consecutive Major crown, and a calendar Grand Slam, and probably should wait until next year before returning to competition.
"She was two matches away from something really big, so it was very painful," said Mouratoglou.
"Any loss is very painful for her, but this one even more than usual. So it just takes time to recover from it, and when the motivation comes back, which I don't doubt it will, then it will be time to start tournaments again."
Williams, who won this year's Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, only to miss out at the US Open, is scheduled to play in next week's China Open and defend her WTA Finals crown here.
She has not been in action since her stunning 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 defeat by unheralded Italian Roberta Vinci in last month's US Open semi-finals, a result that has gone down as one of the most shocking upsets in sports.
When asked for a response yesterday, a spokesman for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) would only say: "We continue to work with the teams of all singles and doubles players who have qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore to prepare for their arrival."
The WTA Finals features the top eight women's singles players and doubles teams and Singapore secured the right to host the event from 2014 to 2018.
This year's event carries a record prize purse of US$7 million ($10m) and will also feature the WTA Future Stars Finals, WTA Rising Stars Invitational and WTA Legends Classic exhibition matches.
WTA rules state that "qualified players who fail to attend and compete or fail to attend and promote" could be fined US$125,000 for the singles event and face a ban.
Recently, world No. 3 Andy Murray was warned that attendance was compulsory for the men's season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, after he had suggested he could miss the event next month, a week before the Davis Cup final between Great Britain and Belgium.
Many had expected Williams to win last month's US Open and become only the fourth woman to complete a calendar Grand Slam.
Mouratoglou, who will be here as one of the keynote speakers at this year's Tennis Coaches Conference led by Martina Navratilova - organised as part of the WTA Finals - said Williams has been struggling to pick herself up after the heartbreak in New York.
"I don't think she should play if the motivation is not really high," Mouratoglou said.
"Because she lost the match, she says to me her season is not good. But I like that because it's just about having high expectations and that's what champions have and I think the same way."
Williams has won 21 career Grand Slam titles, one shy of Steffi Graf's Open Era record and three off the all-time record by Margaret Court.
"I don't doubt she will have the motivation to win more Grand Slams and reach records," Mouratoglou added.
"I'm just thinking about the end of the season, and I don't know how high the motivation is, and I don't think she should go play competitions if her motivation is not high enough."
FAS Council stays on for now
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said yesterday it will amend its constitution to align its electoral processes with Fifa's statutes and the exercise is expected to be completed by next March.
That means the current management team led by FAS president Zainudin Nordin - they were supposed to step down yesterday after a two-year term - will continue until further notice.
Yesterday's announcement comes after Fifa asked the FAS in July to review its electoral processes, as the Fifa statutes state that member associations should be free from third-party influences, while the FAS chief is appointed by the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.
"The current appointment process has been in place since 1982," the FAS statement read. "From the start, Fifa was aware of this practice and did not object to it. But Fifa has recently asked the FAS to review its process and to move towards a full election of its Council members." - LIM SAY HENG