The 2013 WTA Championships get underway on Tuesday in Istanbul. Serena Williams is again the favorite.
Women's tennis is often criticized as inconsistent and for lacking the depth of competition seen on the ATP tour. However, in 2013, the results at the top of the WTA and ATP tours looked quite similar.
Novak Djokovic entered the year ranked No. 1 and won the Australian Open. Victoria Azarenka entered the year ranked No. 1 and defended her title at the Australian Open. Rafael Nadal, currently ranked No. 1, won the French Open and the U.S. Open. Serena Williams, currently ranked No. 1, also won the French Open and U.S. Open.
With the exception of the addition of Jelena Jankovic and the absence of Maria Sharapova, the participants are the same as last year.
The tournament's elite eight were divided into two groups for round robin play. Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova are in the Red Group, while Azarenka, Sara Errani, Jankovic and Li Na are in the White Group.
Unlike at most tournaments, Williams won't have an unknown or easy out in her first match. She told the WTA staff, "It's a tough group. I have to be ready. That's the thing about this tournament and why it's so tough, you have to be ready from the first match on."