To answer the question, I'll go with "16 Tournaments based on current WTA rules to include GS/YEC/PM/P5/P700 depending on rankings". It's the minimum requirements, so...Besides, I don't blame the players if they play less but, as a fan, I wish to see my favorites as often as possible.
However, the real question would be: how come so many "fans" show nothing but contempt for those players who are dedicated to their work and try to play more than the minimum required? How come they expect a young and healthy player to follow the same schedule than a semi-retired player who has achieved everything she wanted and is now playing mainly for her personal glory?
Here's another question. Since the rules require players to participate in 16 tournaments including 4 GS, 4 PM, 4P5, YEC and 2 P700, if a player makes no effort to abide by those rules in order to be in better physical condition than her rivals at grand slams, is she cheating?
In any event, the players have their own needs and strategy. Some need to play as often as possible to be at their best, others seek to preserve their energy.
However, if they were all playing only a handful of tournaments a year, we would have a lot less tournaments than we currently have.
I don't like the fact that the rankings reward quantity over quality because if a player can show up with little preparation and go deep in the Slams they shouldn't be penalized because they chose not to play Madrid or Toronto.
This is a myth. The most important ranking points are provided by the biggest tournaments, starting with the Grand Slams. If you're going to reach the top10, you have to make your way into several QF, SF and finals at the Slams, Mandatory and P5 events. And to do so, you have to beat the best players, since they are the ones you meet at these stages. The WTA is not favoring "quantity over quality". Instead, the top ranked players have to combine quantity and
To answer the question I said any amount between 11-15 tournaments because it equates to at least 1 event per month and many players do much more than that. If someone wanted to play 26 tournaments than great but they should cap how many results will count towards a player's ranking. That way someone that makes it to the QF or better of 19 events in the year would only see points from 16-18.
This is already the case, since only 16 tournaments are included in the ranking.
Lastly I miss the quality point system from the WTA. I think there is added value if you beat any player ranked between 1-10. How this could be added into the current system I'm not entirely sure but if you win a tournament defeating world number 4, 3, and 1 that should count for way more than winning a tournament defeating players ranked 15, 26, and 30.
I have nothing against the quality points, but it has been demonstrated many times that this system has little impact on the ranking and it induces some rather unfortunates bias.