To get to the top, professional tennis players know they have to make tough sacrifices. But at the WTA Finals on Monday, Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova took that concept to a new level, chopping off her hair in order to beat Agnieszka Radwanska.
In the second match of the tournament, world number six Karolina Pliskova came back from a 0-4 deficit in the deciding set to beat French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-2 6-7 (4) 7-5 in a topsy-turvy battle.
Svetlana Kuznetsova hacked off her own hair with a pair of scissors and burst into tears before saving a match point and beating the defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 1-6 7-5 at the WTA Finals on Monday.
Despite appearing on the verge of exhaustion and close to breaking down, Kuznetsova somehow summoned up the energy to win her opening round-robin match in dramatic fashion, less than 48 hours after she qualified for the prestigious end-of-season championship.
Spectators at Singapore’s Indoor Stadium looked on in stunned disbelief when the Russian gave herself an impromptu haircut early in the deciding third set, asking the umpire to get her a large of pair scissors before proceeding to chop off the end of her ponytail and tossing the loose strands onto her seat.
"It was bothering me a lot. I was trying to put it behind my headband, but my hair is very thick and heavy," Kuznetsova explained.
"When I was hitting the forehands every time I would hit a good shot...it would hit my eye every time and I had struggle. I thought, ‘ok, what's more important now? My hair, which I can let grow, or the match? I thought, ‘okay, I’ve got to go for it right now’, and that's it."
Radwanska said she didn’t even realise her opponent had cut off her locks during the match. "I didn't even know that," she told reporters. "Good thing she didn't cut her anything else. I think hair is not very important."
Last November, Andy Murray also gave his fringe a trim courtside at the ATP World Tour finals, saying it was getting into his eyes.