WTA Increases Its Commitment To 125 Level Tournaments In 2022

WTA Tour

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

The WTA Tour has released a comprehensive calendar of 125 level tournaments for the remainder of 2022. It features 21 events taking place in 14 countries spread across three continents and offers competition on clay, grass and hard courts.

The WTA 125 calendar begins the week of March 27 at the AnyTech 365 Andalucía Open in Marbella, Spain, which is combined with an ATP Challenger Tour event. This year’s schedule, which marks an increase from 15 events last year, is designed to maximize playing opportunities for players alongside the WTA Tour. It includes events throughout Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico as well as South American stops in Uruguay and Argentina.

In a press release, Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO said: “WTA 125 tournaments are an important part of the overall WTA Tour structure in strengthening women’s professional tennis. One of our priorities is to support and enhance the elite player pathway, and this year’s WTA 125 schedule reflects the progress being made.”

The WTA 125 tournaments date back to 2012 and “play an important role in providing a bridge for new stars of the sport the ability to continue their progression into the WTA, while at the same time providing opportunities for established players, all in strategic weeks throughout the calendar.”

Click here to see the WTA 125 calendar of tournaments for 2022.

Azarenka devastated by her country’s actions against Ukraine

Two-time Grand Slam champion and current World No. 16 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus is one of her country’s biggest athletic stars. On Wednesday, Azarenka took to social media to speak out on Russia’s invasion against Ukraine. She said she’s “devastated” by the events, in which her own country has played a major role in assisting the Russian war effort against Ukraine.

”I am devastated by the actions that have taken place over the last several days against and in Ukraine,” Azarenka wrote on Twitter. “It’s heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been affected and continue to be affected by such violence.

“Since my early childhood, I have always seen and experienced Ukrainian and Belarusian people, as well as both nations, friendly and supportive of one another. It’s hard to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place instead of supporting and finding compassion for each other. My heart is with everyone directly and indirectly impacted by this war that is causing such pain and suffering for so many. I hope and wish for people and an end to the war.”

Azarenka, who is currently scheduled to play in next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and later this month at the Miami Open presented by Itaú, maintains a residence in Florida in the United States. However, being from Belarus – Azarenka was born in Minsk – she will face the same restrictions as handed down by the ATP, WTA and ITF against the Russians. This means that players from both Belarus and Russia will continue to be allowed to compete in international tennis events on Tour and the Grand Slams. “However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice,” said a joint statement released Tuesday.

Murray, Kenin receive Indian Wells wild cards

Andy Murray of Great Britain and Sofia Kenin of the United States were added as wild cards for the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which begins main draw play on Wednesday, March 9.

The 84th-ranked Murray has a 27-13 career record in the California palm desert and was a 2009 finalist.

Kenin is a five-time WTA titlist, which includes winning the 2020 Australian Open. A former World No. 4, the American has dipped to No. 89 after missing much of last season due to injuries.

Fish shares reaction to Netflix documentary Untold: Breaking Point

U.S. Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish is the subject of an excellent Netflix documentary, Untold: Breaking Point, in which he goes public with his struggles dealing with an anxiety disorder that he was diagnosed with after he tried to push through the mental strain of reaching the 2012 US Open quarterfinals. Fish has been upfront about helping athletes deal with mental health issues.

Fish, who will be guiding the U.S. Davis Cup team in its qualifying tie against Colombia in Reno, Nev. March 4-5, spoke this week in a pre-tie press conference about the reaction that the Netflix documentary has received:

“I certainly have thousands of messages, whether through social media, through Twitter, through emails, texts, whatever. It’s been overwhelming, the response, in a good way. I set out to try and tell my story to give people a success story in the mental health world, show people a vulnerable side of a human being, that their job was complete taken away from them due to some sort of mental health issues.

“Not only was I able to get through it and beat it and get to the other side, I was able to jump back into the fire of competing at a high level at the place that took it all away from me. It was important to me, if I was going to tell my story, to tell it as a success story, to give people hope that they can get through any sort of mental health issues they have, whether it be depression, panic, anxiety, bipolar.

“There’s a lot of stuff that people deal with, tens of millions of Americans deal with on a daily basis. When I went through it, I wasn’t aware of any sort of success stories in sports. I was a sports fan. I didn’t know any scenarios where I could lean on to say, ‘Oh, there’s an athlete or a person that I know of that went through something similar and was able to get through it.’ I was hoping to give people a success story for that. The response has been pretty overwhelming.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Dayana Yastremska / The hardest match of my life

“Quotable …”

“I think everybody understands what we were missing in Italy, the passion of wanting to play for your country, wanting to play in this competition, wanting to play for your teammates.”

– U.S. Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish on the “new-look” US Davis Cup team that will oppose Colombia this weekend in Reno, Nev.