As a build up for the upcoming 2020 US Open, several stars from both the WTA and ATP are set to compete in a mini-tournament to get themselves in tip-top shape.
The Western and Southern Open will serve as a tune-up for the US Open and it will be held from August 20 to 28 behind closed doors. Initially, it was supposed to be held in the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. However, the exhibition event has been relocated to Cincinnati.
The timing is perfect especially since the US Open was given the green light to begin on August 31. This gives our favourite tennis players an opportunity to use this as a gauge on their current form.
So who’s in or out in the said mini-tournament? SBOBET has you covered with our latest roundup of WTA 2020 news.
Who will be joining the mini-tournament?
It is safe to say that the mini-tournament is going to be star-studded, as 79 out of the 96 top-ranked players from both the men and women’s divisions are set to compete.
For the men’s division, names such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, and David Goffin standout from the list.
Only Roger Federer and Gael Monfils won’t join from the top 10, especially with the former dealing with a myriad of injuries.
As for the WTA, Serena Williams is the biggest name on the list while her colleagues in Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, and Naomi Osaka are set to compete as well.
Ashleigh Barty, who is currently the top-ranked player and one of the brightest young stars in the WTA, will not be competing.
Also absent are reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, fifth-ranked Elina Svitolina, and last year’s US Open titlist in Bianca Andreescu.
Playing or not playing in this exhibition doesn’t necessarily affect one’s WTA 2020 odds in the US Open. This is probably the main reason why some selected invitees are not expected to come.
Several players unwilling to compete in the US Open
But while not joining in the Western and Southern Open is understandable, this might set a precedent for the upcoming US Open as far as the number of participants are concerned.
Let’s not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic is still at large, particularly in the US where more than four million positive cases are already confirmed.
WTA’s top-ranked player in Ashleigh Barty voiced her travel concerns, and it doesn’t help that Australia has already closed its international borders in order to mitigate risk on their end.
The same goes for Elina Svitolina, adding that she will begin her 2020 season in European clay instead in the US.
“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year. I love both events so this was a difficult decision,” said Barty in a statement to the Associated Press.
“But there are still significant risks involved due to COVID-19 and I don’t feel comfortable putting my team and I in that position. I look forward to being back in the US next year,” she added.
“Given the situation today, I think I will start in Madrid and not play in the US Open. We still do not know what will happen next, as the situation changes every week,” bared Svitolina.
While Ashleigh Barty and Elina Svitolina have already made their decisions, their other colleagues in Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep have yet to confirm their stance. However, I won’t be surprised if they would back out too eventually.
“I know that a few players will definitely not go if the restrictions are like where they are now,” said Kvitova in a recent interview.
“Playing without fans in Grand Slams, I can’t really see it. If that happens and everything is okay I will go for sure to compete but there’s still a chance I will not go. I will decide when I know everything,” she added.
Like Kvitova, Simona Halep’s decision is still up in the air. The world’s second-best women’s tennis player bared that she will come to a conclusion once her colleagues have confirmed on whether they’ll go or not.
“It will be a little difficult, it depends on the restrictions. I’m a little bit worried to make that move. I will wait to see what is being decided and see what the other players will do,” said Halep.
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