Guest Author - Eric T. Coursey
Sony Ericsson International has taken it's fair share of knocks but is Serena Williams pulling out of the India tournament good or bad for the WTA? When you initially look at it, the withdrawl of a former number one player who also happened to have won the last Grand Slam event appears to be bad news for this tournament. When high ranking players pull out of tournments it generally is dissapointing for fans as well as for tournament sponsors and organizers however, will this be the case in India.
With Serena Williams pulling out of this tournament, it opens the doors for Sania Mirza to win her second Sony Ericsson singles title. In a country like India the WTA may fair better if a home grown star could win the tournament. If Serena Williams were still in the tournament the probability of Sania winning would be very slim. Williams absence has placed Mirza as the number two seed, right behind Mara Santangelo. With Mirza's increased chances of finishing well in her home country, the fan support should be high.
Serena's absence may have been more critical to other tournaments however the hope that it has given to Sania Mirza and the fans in India will more than make up for it. Winning this tournament for Sania will still be challenging as she would likely have to face the 2006 champ, Mara Santangelo. The potential battle between the two top seeded players may be even more intriguing because of their partnership in the doubles event.
Sania Mirza won the doubles tournament in 2006 but to win the singles would mean a lot to her and the fans in India. If Mirza can pull this one out, then William's withdrawl may have been the best thing that could of happened in Bangalore. A tournament that is tightly contested all of the way through will likely have far more appeal to the tennis fans in India then if Serena were to dominate. I don't know how much the fans would appreciate another 6-1 6-2 route like Serena had over the number one ranked Sharapova in Australia anyway.