I'm sure all the "Asian Tigers" (minus Ai) will go to Bali this year.
I'm going to be extremely annoyed if any of the non-gold/silver exempt WCs are awarded to a non-Asian player, unless the organisers establish an exchange program with another tourney.
I heard Napaporn Tongsalee (THA) will get one maindraw WC as a result of an exchange program between Bali and Pattaya. Therefore an Indonesian player will get a WC into the maindraw of Pattaya. This is an excellent program.
WTA tourneys in Asia are extremely generous when it comes to handing out maindraw WCs to non-Asian players, especially without expecting anything in return for their own players.
1999 Toyota Princess Cup (Monique Viele - biggest waste of a WC ever!)
2002 Toyota Princess Cup (Gala Leon Garcia -
2002 Wismilak International (Gala Leon Garcia -
2002 Wismilak International (Virginie Razzano)
2002 Wismilak International (Maria Kirilenko)
2002 Japan Open (Maria Sharapova)
2002 Volvo Women's Open (Lina Krasnoroutskaya)
2002 Volvo Women's Open (Julia Vakulenko -
Pretty amazing to think that all 3 maindraw WCs at Bali last year were awarded to Europeans. Sure, Maria Kirilenko had just won the US Open Juniors, but did Angelique Widjaja receive any WCs to any European events for winning 2 Junior GS? The most Maria should have gotten was a qualifying WC, especially at such a young age, with practically no achievements on the pro tour at the time. Gala Leon Garcia was in a slump for the most of last year, and had definitely not deserved 2
maindraw wildcards into a Tier II and III event. I shouldn't have to explain why Julia Vakulenko did not deserve the WC into Pattaya last year. Just look at her results last year up to that tourney...
I have nothing against non-Asian players receiving maindraw WCs into Asian event, but it really frustrates me when there is no thought given from organisers when distributing WCs out. It seems quite often that the organisers are just happy to get another European player into the tourney, without considering the context of the player. I would like to see more co-prosperity between all the Asian WTA events, organising exchange programs and so on. There are just 4 WTA events in Asia after the US Open this year, so I can only hope that the organisers are a little 'smarter' and 'competitive' when awarding WCs this year. How are the 'up and coming' Asian players going to develop and improve, when they are robbed of the chance to compete against much heralded opponents in their home continent? There are so little ITF events in Asia (let along WTA events), which IMHO is one of the bigger reasons as to why there are so little players from Asia competing on the tour regularly.
I would definitely like to see the Asian tourneys get something back in return for their own players from now on.