Players Thrilled by WTA Championships Return to U.S.

MIAMI (Reuters) – World No. 1 Jennifer Capriati led the players’ thrilled reaction to the news that the season-ending WTA Championships was returning to the United States after an unsuccessful one-year foray into Europe.

The WTA voted Friday to relocate the prestigious championships to Los Angeles after one year in Munich, and during the weekend announced the Staples Center — home of the Los Angeles Lakers — would be the new venue.

“I think this is great news,” Capriati said. “I’m psyched that the Tour Championships are coming back to America. Los Angeles is an awesome city and the Staples Center is an excellent place for us to play.”

Serena Williams, winner of the ill-fated Munich event last year, echoed Capriati’s thoughts.

“I think it is great for women’s tennis,” the world No. 9 said.

“Los Angeles is a great city for tennis. I’m super-excited and can’t wait to play there.”

Last year’s championships were hurt by the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and the absence of several star players through injury, including Venus Williams and Martina Hingis.

Monica Seles also refused to take part in the event, standing by her vow to never again play in Germany after being stabbed in the back during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg by a deranged fan of Steffi Graf.

Adding to an anti-climatic finish to the season, Serena Williams won the title with a walkover after Lindsay Davenport pulled out of the final with an injury.