Anticipating challenges of WTA Finals
Excitement mounts in the race to get ready for the WTA Finals
In recent nights, it has sometimes been player requests for Indian food, mangosteens, or chocolate cake that have occupied my mind.
At other times, I dream of the brilliant neon green balls, racquets, strings, a beautiful purple court and event banners brightening up the Singapore Sports Hub.
These all suggest that we are in the home stretch as Singapore prepares for one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
We are just eight days away from the start of the 2016 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global and the final straight is always full of high energy and buzz with the teams getting the nuts and bolts locked down.
As tournament director, I always anticipate challenges.
While it is an event we work on all-year round, there are bound to be unforeseen situations that crop up at the last minute, and in the business of "live" events you need to be able to thrive under pressure and keep a cool head amongst it all.
With a global event of this stature, where eight of the world's best in women's tennis are about to battle for the most lucrative prize in the game, I would say the devil is in the detail.
When putting together the blueprint for such a world-class event, I often compare it to being an athlete who is training for a big event or race.
In the days leading up to the big event, most athletes are tapering, as they look to hit peak form when the action unfolds.
Our teams work all year long for this big show in October, and when the final days are upon us, we are putting the final touches, rehearsing, and waiting to unleash the action.
I like to use the term "the hay is in the barn" at this stage, because the hard work year-round of all the teams, partners, sponsors (and of course the athletes) has been done, and now it's time for execution.
The top players on the Road to Singapore Leaderboard will be in Singapore for the tournament, including the World No. 1 Angelique Kerber and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska. We are in touch with the players regularly and it's important to do so in order to keep up with all of their needs.
And it is extremely important that we get everything right to provide the athletes, fans, sponsors and VIP guests with a truly memorable experience.
From lodging to food, transport, ball kids, officials, and racket stringers, everyone has a specific and important role to play.
We are excited to be in full-on work mode, making sure everything is done the way it should be.
One of the most important details in the player experience is meeting the athletes' dietary requirements.
The WTA has a dedicated sport sciences and medicine department and one of its many tasks is to ensure that the meals are specially designed to cater to the needs of each athlete.
Some, for example, request gluten-free food.
Many prefer not to eat foods with sauces or additives as it slows them down on court. Most of the time, the athletes prefer plain and even bland cuisine before their matches.
The same attention to detail goes for our racket stringers.
Last year alone, 280 rackets were restrung and almost three kilometres of string used.
The racket is the player's main weapon out on court and having this team working at peak form is important.
Our stringers have been working at the WTA Finals for years, so they know the intricate details of each player's needs, and that is invaluable.
When the action begins on court at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the ball boys and girls will also be in the spotlight.
Through a careful selection process, we now have a team of 30 ball kids - narrowed down from hundreds - and they have been going through rigorous training since May.
Being a ball kid is an incredible opportunity for youngsters.
It's not an easy role and requires a lot of focus and discipline, but it provides them with the opportunity of a lifetime to be on the world stage with the best female athletes on the planet.
I'm happy to say that the stage on which the best players in the world will perform on is now ready for them.
The court at the Indoor Stadium has been laid, the lines have been drawn and the Singapore sign has been stencilled in beautifully.
All of the event operations could not be possible without the tireless work of the various teams and volunteers.
We are grateful for such wonderful partners who share our vision, our promoters Lagardere Sports, the Singapore Tourism Board and Sport Singapore, as well as our sponsors led by BNP Paribas and SC Global.
The biggest stars of the WTA will arrive here next week and the WTA Future Stars tournament featuring the best Under-14 and Under-16 players from 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific will kick off on Monday.
Nine legends of the game are also set to descend on Singapore.
For the first time, we will have Monica Seles joining us as an ambassador, along with fan favourites Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, along with Asian legends Tamarine Tanasugarn from Thailand and Yayuk Basuki from Indonesia.
Our partners and sponsors, and crucially, the players and fans, are definitely in for a treat at the 2016 WTA Finals.
The excitement level is building and I cannot wait to finally raise the curtains on what I believe will be an incredible sports entertainment experience.
Canadian Melissa Pine is a former NCAA player and a columnist for The New Paper.
She is the vice-president of WTA Asia-Pacific and also the tournament director of the WTA Finals.
Held in Singapore from 2014 to 2018, the 10-day tennis extravaganza showcases the world's top-eight singles players and doubles teams competing for a grand prize of US$7 million ($9.6m).
For more information on the event, visit www.wtafinals.com