Players at the WTA Championships in Istanbul lent their support Monday to those affected by Turkey's devastating earthquake.
Sunday's quake happened in eastern Turkey, far from the tournament location in the west. Women's Tennis Association officials briefed the eight elite players on the 7.2-magnitude quake near the border with Iran. About 270 people were confirmed dead by Monday afternoon, and the toll was expected to rise.
Second-ranked Maria Sharapova said she was saddened by the news, adding that she has received many phone calls and e-mails expressing concern.
"I think it gives us an opportunity to sit down and say, 'We're very, very lucky and fortunate to be doing what we're doing,'" Sharapova said. "These things that happen around the world, you just never know where it can happen. I mean, this was only a few hours from here."
Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki arrived in Istanbul on Thursday and said she wanted to pass along condolences on behalf of all the players.
"All our thoughts are with everyone affected, and of course it's never nice when something like this happens," said Wozniacki, whose profile in Turkey has risen since she signed a commercial deal with a Turkish airline last year. "I definitely got a few messages yesterday and just asking if everything was OK, and if we're all OK here."
The season-ending WTA Championships is being held at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, which will host the $5 million event through 2013. It starts on Tuesday and the final will be played on Sunday. Qatar hosted the tournament for the last three years.
At the draw ceremony on Sunday, CEO Stacey Allaster spoke on behalf of players and tennis officials.
"We will do whatever we can to support the people of Turkey in some small way through the power of sport," Allaster said.