The ultimate match of the WTA Finals Singapore would not have been complete without the thousands of ardent fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Meet some of the most devoted supporters, who cheered their hearts out for Simona Halep and Serena Williams as they contested for the WTA Finals title.
Jordg Lemita, 32
We just couldn’t miss out on the wonderfully bedecked Jordg Lemita. In town for a WTA-themed holiday, the Tennessee native was, without a doubt, here to cheer on fellow American Serena Williams.
“WTA is actually a main part of my holiday here; I’ve been watching it since day one, from 12pm to 11pm, which adds up to 11 hours of tennis every day,” he explained.
Gabriel Dinescu, 47
Gabriel Dinescu was at the WTA finals bearing his country’s flag to show his support for - yes, you guessed it - Romanian tennis prodigy Simona Halep. Gabriel, who has lived here since February last year, has been following tennis since he was a child, and was excited to watch the match live because it was his “first time seeing a top competition”.
“I’m a very optimistic guy and I really hope that Simona will win - in fact, this is the only thing I’m concentrating on right now and I cannot tell you anything else!” he exclaimed.
Airin Chuchol, 22, and Sumet Thonsin, 40
Uncle-and-niece duo Sumet Thonsin and Airin Chuchol may play tennis together almost daily, but they definitely do not see eye-to-eye on who deserved the WTA championship trophy.
“Simona Halep, definitely. I think she’s just so strong,” Sumet enthused. Airin, however, spoke in favour of Serena Williams, exclaiming, “She needs to win this!”
Having flown to Singapore, their “favourite holiday destination”, just for the match, the two Thai tennis fans professed to enjoy the sport because it is an activity that requires more than one player, and can be played together with friends and family.
Portia Chitanda, 30, and Francis Chitanda, 37, with their 6-month-old baby
Portia and Francis Chitanda stood out among the crowd of exuberant fans at the WTA finals last night. Pushing their 6-month-old baby in a stroller, they looked more like an ordinary family out for an evening walk in the park.
But the Zimbabweans, who have been living in Singapore for five years now, are tennis aficionados all the same. In fact, they have been fans of the sport for so long that they cannot even remember when they started following it.
Delighted that they got to see “all the top players”, the couple also commented that the WTA’s presence in Singapore would be good for our tourism industry.
“It’s fun and it’s a good atmosphere. It also gives people a different perspective to visit Asia and see what it’s all about,” Francis said.
Mark Tan, 35, with his 18-month-old baby
Also at the finals with a baby in tow was Singaporean Mark Tan, who was supporting Simona Halep with his 18-month-old tot. “It’s nice to have a different winner for a change,” he quipped, noting how Halep’s victory over Serena Williams during the group stages had placed her in a good position to win.
The recreational tennis player also mentioned that the sportsmanship aspect was one of his favourite things about tennis.
“We can have people who play competitively but at the end of it, they can still be friends. Look at Caroline Wozniacki and Serena Williams, two good friends who went up against each other in the semi-finals. Another good example would also be the doubles matches. Su Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai are Taiwanese and Chinese respectively. Politically they wouldn’t like each other that much, but they do play well together,” he observed.
Hong Yan Qing, 21, Brenda Ng, 21, Joyce Hui, 21, Charmaine Tan, 22
Local students Hong Yan Qing, Brenda Ng, Joyce Hui, and Charmaine Tan may be Ana Ivanovic fans, but their favourite player’s defeat during the group stages did not stop them from going to watch the showdown between Serena Williams and Simona Halep last night.
Having watched most of the WTA matches despite being busy with lessons, the local university league tennis players were clearly excited to watch such an important international tournament being played on home soil.
“The best thing about WTA being in Singapore is that it’s actually here in Singapore!” gushed Brenda. “It’s the whole game, the adrenaline - everything’s just so exciting and unpredictable,” Joyce chipped in.
Jeff McCorstin, 49, and Kris McCorstin, 47
Tennis is, to American couple Jeff and Kris McCorstin, a sport that they “can always play together”, regardless of age. Having been tennis enthusiasts for six years now, the Singapore residents also joked that the short skirts and chic outfits were part of the sport’s attraction to them.
Although they were at the WTA finals to show their support for fellow countrywoman Serena Williams, they were also pleased to note a handful of Asian competitors at the doubles championship, despite tennis being a sport usually dominated by the Western world.
“It’s great that the WTA is being held in Singapore too, because of the proximity,” Jeff said. “It’s a nice location and everything’s close by, and it’s all happening here at the Sports Hub!” added Kris.
SportCares Cheering Squad
Ironically, the loudest fans at the WTA Finals may have been the SportCares footballers from NorthLight School. They were total newbies to tennis the week before but by Sunday, they were absolute experts on American Serena Williams, at least. Not only were they familiar with her previous wins at the WTA Finals, they were 100% confident in her ability to win it, again. “She will do it,” pronounced Nadhir. Nadhir and his best mates—Arsyad, Muttaqin and Raden--remained solid in their conviction that “Queen Serena” would triumph, again —even when she got thrashed by Simona Halep. “She is injured,” exclaimed Arsyad. “Just wait. You will see.”
With their girl-pals from the Love Singapore tennis programme—Lisa and Nomilah—the NorthLight boys made a series of banners to show their support for Queen Serena. They didn’t get to perform their hand-clapping cheer at this edition of the WTA Finals, but they’re looking forward to going live with it in 2015.