WTA Adds Prague And Lexington To Calendar

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

On Thursday, the WTA announced the addition of two International events to its 2020 provisional calendar, both for the week of August 10: the Prague Open in the Czech Republic and the Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Lexington, Ky. It marks the first time a WTA tournament has been held in Kentucky (United States).

“As the WTA Tour looks to return to competition in 2020, we are pleased to provide additional playing opportunities for our athletes,” Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said. “We are delighted to welcome the teams in Prague and Lexington onto the 2020 provisional calendar and look forward to the return of women’s professional tennis.”

According to New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey, the Top Seed Open will offer $225,000 in prize money and be played without spectators. “If it happens, will be first U.S. tour even since the pandemic,” Clarey wrote on Twitter.

With the addition of the new WTA event in Kentucky, it means there will be no WTA tournament in Washington, D.C. to go with the ATP 500 Citi Open this year. However, according to a Citi Open tweet posted shortly after the WTA’s announcement, it said, “We still plan to present women’s tennis during this year’s Citi Open …”, suggesting the possibility of an exhibition match or matches.

WTA revises its rankings system for rest of season

On Thursday, the WTA announced “temporary adjustments and revisions” to the WTA Rankings for singles and doubles players that will take effect when the tour returns to play next month. “The WTA Rankings represent a calculation of a player’s recent tournament results, evaluating each player’s standing among the world’s best players and are the basis for tournament entry and seeding in respective draws,” the WTA said on its website.

In the past, the WTA Rankings have been based upon a 52-week system with results from a player’s best 16 tournaments for singles and 11 for doubles. Points from Grand Slams events, the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, and WTA Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments yield the highest ranking points. Because of the COVID-19 shutdown to pro tennis, rankings have been frozen since March 16.

Under the revised system, a player’s ranking will be comprised of her best 16 results in singles and best 11 results in doubles based on the points earned between March 2019 through December 2020,” the WTA website said. “A player’s ranking breakdown will include the ‘Better of 2019 and 2020’ points earned at Tour-level and Grand Slam events. Further, a player may not count the same WTA Tour or Grand Slam level result twice in her ranking breakdown. Tour-level points added in 2020 will drop after the event is scheduled to be played again in 2021 or after 52 weeks, whichever is earlier.”

China cancels international sports for rest of year

According to an Associated Press report, China said Thursday it will not stage any international sports for the remainder of 2020 except for trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing and neighboring city Zhangjiakou.

The General Administration of Sports order affects professional tennis in a major way. There are six WTA Tour events, including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, as well as four ATP Tour tournaments scheduled in China this fall. Both tours spend a good portion of September and October staging events throughout China and across Asia.

Currently, the WTA has events scheduled for Beijing (Oct. 12-18), Nanchang (Oct. 19-25), Wuhan (Oct. 19-25), Zhengzhou (Oct. 26-Nov. 1), the Shenzhen WTA Finals (Nov. 8-15), Zhuhai Elite Trophy (Nov. 17-22), and Guangzhou (Nov. 23-29).

Meanwhile, the ATP tournaments affected include: Chengdu 250 (Sept. 28-Oct. 4), Zhuhai 250 (Sept. 28-October 4), Beijing 500 (Oct. 5-11) and Shanghai Masters 1000 (Oct. 11-18).

While China has largely contained local transmission of COVID-19, it remains on alert for imported cases of coronavirus.

Other sports in China affected besides tennis include badminton, golf and cycling, all which have major events planned for later this year. In publishing its directive, the General Administration of Sports cited “science and order” as reasons for issuing its plan.

The Way Back Machine / 20 years ago

No. 1 seed Pete Sampras won 7th Wimbledon title and 13th Grand Slam when he defeated Patrick Rafter.

New coach for Julia Goerges

What they’re saying

Alexei Popyrin in an interview this week with Tennis Majors said he will not play in this year’s US Open: “I never really wanted to go to play the US Open. I think with the situation that’s happening in America right now, it is very hard to go and play the US Open. I think it’s a big risk for everybody to go and play. From who I’ve spoken to some are afraid of the virus, some aren’t. Some think it’s just a hoax, we’ll have to wait and see how many players go.”

What they’re reporting

According to The Times of London tennis correspondent Stuart Fraser, “Jamie Murray to host another closed-doors domestic event later this month. The Battle of the Brits Team Tennis will feature both men and women contesting singles and doubles in a mixed format from July 27-August 2 at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Simon Cambers / When the grass was faster

Mary Pierce / My cherished Wimbledon memory

Christopher Clarey / Moments we’re missing