CINCINNATI, July 30, 2020 (Press Release)
Eighteen-year-old Cincinnati native Caty McNally and four Major champions – Kim Clijsters, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams – have been awarded wild cards for the 2020 Western & Southern Open.
These five have joined the previously announced 39 players on the entry list for the WTA Premier 5 tournament that will be held Aug. 20-28 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Clijsters brings the total of past Western & Southern Open champions in the field to six. The 2010 winner joins past champions Madison Keys (2019), Kiki Bertens (2018), Garbiñe Muguruza (2017), Karolina Pliskova (2016) and Serena Williams (2014-15) in the 2020 field.
A mother of three, Clijsters has returned to the WTA this season after having retired in 2012. This marks her second comeback, having previously retired in 2007 before returning to the tour with a quarterfinal run at the 2009 Western & Southern Open. This will be her third tournament of 2020.
A 2017 inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Clijsters owns 41 singles titles. Three of her four Major wins came at the US Open, including in her third event after her 2009 comeback. She would go on to defend that title one year later just weeks after picking up the title in Cincinnati. The 37-year-old Belgian has spent 20 weeks as the WTA’s No. 1 player.
McNally, a native of Madeira, Ohio, will be making her second appearance at the Western & Southern Open. Last summer, McNally reached the semifinals at the WTA event in Washington, D.C., before pushing Serena Williams to three sets during the US Open second round. In January, McNally was two-for-two in qualifying attempts, joining the field at the WTA event in Auckland and at the Australian Open, where she defeated Australian and former US Open Champion Sam Stosur in the first round. McNally owns two professional titles on the ITF Circuit.
At 18, McNally is the second-youngest player in the 2020 Western & Southern Open field, behind 16-year-old Coco Gauff. McNally and Gauff have teamed up in doubles to form “McCoco.” In 2019, the teenage duo won a pair of WTA titles – in Washington, D.C. and Luxembourg – and reached the US Open Round of 16. McNally’s best result in juniors singles play was a runner-up finish at the 2018 French Open, where she lost to Gauff in the final.
Osaka has two Major wins among her five career titles, having won the 2018 US Open then following that up with a title at the 2019 Australian Open. The No. 10-ranked Osaka has finished the last two seasons in the Top 5 and has held the WTA’s No. 1 ranking for 25 weeks.
In May, Forbes listed the 22-year-old Osaka as the highest-earning female athlete in the world, citing her “endorsement stardom.” The Japanese native will be making her third Western & Southern Open appearance after reaching the quarterfinals in 2019.
Stephens won the 2017 US Open just months after seeing her ranking fall to No. 957 following an 11-month absence due to a right foot injury. The season following her first Major win, Stephens was runner-up at the French Open and the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore.
A 27-year-old Florida native, Stephens owns six career titles. She owns a 14-8 record at the Western & Southern Open, with her best result coming from a run to the semifinals in 2017.
Venus Williams is a seven-time Major champion who owns 49 career titles. In 2019, she earned her 800th career match win, becoming the sixth woman to reach that milestone. The 40-year-old has spent 11 weeks as the WTA’s No. 1 ranked player and has finished 14 seasons ranked in the Top 10.
A semifinalist in 2012 and quarterfinalist last year, Williams is 11-7 all-time at the Western & Southern Open. During her career, she has teamed up with her younger sister, Serena, to win 22 career doubles titles, including 14 Majors and three Olympic Gold Medals.
The awarding of wild cards to these four Major champions brings the total number of women who have won a Grand Slam event in the 2020 Western & Southern Open field to nine. Clijsters, Osaka, Stephens and Venus Williams join Major champions Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Muguruza and Serena Williams as entries into the 2020 tournament. The complete initial entry list can be found here.
The Western & Southern Open men’s field includes five former champions: Daniil Medvedev (2019), Novak Djokovic (2018), Grigor Dmitrov (2017), Marin Cilic (2016) and Rafael Nadal (2011). Four men will receive wild cards to join the field for the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The initial entry list can be found here.
The top eight seeds in both draws will receive first round byes. Twelve players will be added to each field through a two-round qualifying event that will be held Aug. 20-21. The deadline for players to enter the qualifying event is Aug. 3.