THE BNP Paribas WTA Finals is back for its third edition at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with world No 1 Angelique Kerber and defending champion Agnieszka Radwańska leading eight of the world’s top ten singles and doubles players.
The finals at the Sports Hub, at least until next Sunday, will certainly hype up interest in tennis. For some fans, they’ll probably entertain thoughts on how the sport had its beginnings.
In a nutshell, the racket game evolved over the last four centuries, initially the preserve of royalties.
But when did tennis, as the global sport we now know, start?
To help answer these questions and to celebrate the WTA Finals, the Singapore Sports Hub rolled out an exhibition today that is rich in memorabilia and trivia.
Admission to the exhibits at the Changing Gallery of the Singapore Sports Museum (opposite Kallang Wave Mall) is free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and opens until Jan 8.
Interesting memorabilia are on display and several bear the autographs of some of women’s tennis greats.
They include the flipside of the sport — a racket (picture, above) that was on the receiving end of Serena Williams’ rage after she lost the first of five sets to Caroline Wozniacki in the semis of the WTA Finals Singapore in 2014.
Considered the greatest women’s player of all time, and perhaps the most passionate, she recovered and went on to win the tournament.
Other rackets, though, are in perfect condition. The displays that stand out narrate the evolution from wood (autograph by another legend Chris Evert) to carbon fibre composites.
The exhibition goes on to tell the story of how 12-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King lifted the woman’s game to a higher level with the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association and its subsequent journey to Singapore in 2014.
And unlike attractive sporty gear women players wear to compete in tournaments in the modern game, the sort they donned in the late 19th century would be unthinkable, and even lunatic, today.
So what did their outfits look like then? Take a trip to the Sports Hub and see them for yourself. They are on display.
What: The Graceful Grit: Tennis and the WTA Finals in Singapore
Where: Changing Gallery of the Singapore Sports Museum at the Sports Hub
When: October 23-January 8 2017 from 10am-8pm weekdays, 10am-9pm on weekends, eve of Public Holidays and Public Holidays.
Admission: Free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
For more details visit: www.sportshub.com.sg/venues/Pages/singapore-sports-museum.aspx