The third edition of the WTA Elite Trophy held in Zhuhai will have a notable absentee as the original top seed of the tournament, Johanna Konta, has withdrawn from the tournament due to her struggles with injuries. The Brit was originally the favourite to qualify for the WTA Finals during the midseason, but a series of injuries started to derail her season, undermining her success earlier in 2017.
Season thus far
Konta had a solid start to the season as she reached the semifinals at the Shenzhen Open before storming to the title at the Sydney International where there was a packed field of five top 10 players. Another impressive run saw her make the last eight at the Australian Open, defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Ekaterina Makarova along the way.
The highlight of her season was definitely claiming the biggest title of her career at the Miami Open, defeating three top-15 players in the process, including soon-to-be world number one Simona Halep. Clay was not much of a delight for the Brit but she made up for the poor results with good performances in both Nottingham and Wimbledon, where she reached her first Major semifinal.
Her season started going downhill from the second part of the year onwards, reaching just one quarterfinal in the past few months. She wasted match points against Makarova in Toronto and fell to Halep in Cincinnati before a shocking first-round exit at the US Open to Aleksandra Krunic. It was particularly disappointing as Konta, who was ranked fifth in the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard after Wimbledon, was once again forced to battle for the last spot in the closing weeks of the season.
The Brit was unable to find her form even during the Asian Swing, losing to Barbora Strycova in a tight match at the Toray Pan Pacific Open before falling short to Ashleigh Barty in a blockbuster first-round meeting in Wuhan, where the Australian eventually reached the final. The last match of her season was a drubbing by Monica Niculescu in the opening round of the China Open, losing 1-6, 2-6 in a one-sided affair.
Konta has been struggling with a foot injury which forced her to withdraw from both Hong Kong and Moscow, thus ending her chances to qualify for Singapore. The Brit could be considered very unlucky as 2016 also saw Konta put in a similar situation, with Kuznetsova stealing the eighth spot on the last day of the routine WTA season.
“My foot is improving but it is still advisable to rest it further so unfortunately I will not be travelling to Singapore or to the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai. Both are amazing events and I will really miss being part of them but I want to make sure that I am fully fit to start preparations for what I hope will be an amazing 2018 season.” an official statement from Konta reads. Certainly, it is not worth aggravating the injury especially when it is closing to the off-season soon, and therefore Konta made a wise decision to fully recover from the injury and skip the tournament.
The WTA Elite Trophy kicks off tomorrow with Coco Vandeweghe and Peng Shuai starting play at 3.30 pm local time while other big names who withdrew are Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys.