The WTA Championships in Istanbul is the big tennis event this week and you can watch the event live on Eurosport.
To help set the scene Tramlines has been looking at the facts and figures running up to the event and has picked out some of the more interesting angles to look out for in Turkey.
Azarenka a licence to print money
Victoria Azarenka has already broken the record for the most money won in a single WTA season ($6,953,920) — if she wins in Turkey she will push over the $8m barrier. The previous record was the $6,545,586 won by Serena Williams in 2009.
Tennis the global game.
For the first time in the history of the WTA Champions all the players competing, including the alternates, represent a different country.
A bad omen for Azarenka?
While the top seed at the event has won it 20 times in its 42-year history, there has not been a top ranked winner since Justine Henin in 2007.
Petra Kvitova won the event last year on her debut without losing a match. She has a 5-0 record at the event. Serena Williams has the next best record (15-5) while Maria Sharapova is (13-7). Azarenka (5-6) actually has a losing record at the event.
What chance the debutants?
Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber are making their debuts in the tournament. Only three players have won the event on their first appearance - Serena Williams (2001), Maria Sharapova (2004) and Petra Kvitova (2011).
Serena — consistently good
Serena Williams is playing at this event for the seventh time which is a record amongst active players. However, she has a long way to go to beat Martina Navratilova who has played this event an amazing 20 times.
Familiar faces that won't be in Turkey.
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva (five times each) are the two active players who have played at this event the most without qualifying this time out.
Who will finish the season as world number one?
Both Azarenka and Sharapova can finish the season as world number one — nobody else can. For Azarenka she just needs to win two round robin matches to guarantee the top ranking.
Sharapova can sneak it though if:
- Azarenka goes 0-3 in RR matches, Sharapova would need to win at least 2 RR matches AND win the title
- Azarenka goes 1-2 in RR matches (so still COULD reach SF at 1-2), Sharapova would need to win the title without losing a match
Who wants to be number one anyway?
Since the end of 2007, the number one ranking has changed hands 15 times with eight different players holding the top ranking.
The Russian aren't coming
For the first time since 2001 only one Russian has qualified for the event (Sharapova). At least one Russian has qualified for Championships for 15-straight years.
Make sure you pack your racquets Stosur and Bartoli
Alternates have been called-up to play six times in the last 10 years.
Golden oldies can make history
If either Serena Williams (31 years, 1 month) or Li Na (30 years, 8 months) win the event they will become the oldest ever winner of the WTA Championship. The record currently belongs to Martina Navratilova who won the tournament aged 30 years, 1 month, 5 days back in 1986.
Enjoy more facts and figures courtesy of the WTA Tour charts below (click to enlarge)