The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed that they are looking into the possibility of extending this year’s calendar due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There have been no tournaments played on the tour since the last week of February. The suspension is currently scheduled to end on June 8th, however, it is looking likely that it will be extended in the coming weeks. The Wimbledon Championships is expected to be officially cancelled on Wednesday for the first time since 1945. Effectively ending hopes of there being a grass-court swing this year.
Due to the halt, many lower ranked players have been left in a tough financial situation with them being unable to earn any money. World No.371 Sofia Shapatava recently set up an online petition on change.org calling for support from the ITF, WTA and ATP. More than 1300 people have signed the petition.
“The WTA is diligently working with our tournaments to maximize earning possibilities when the professional tennis circuit is able to resume and is considering an extension to the current 44-week season to enable more tournaments to take place,” the WTA said in a statement issued to Reuters News Agency.
“It is our sincere hope to return to the court as soon as possible – when the health and safety or our players, fans and staffs can be guaranteed, we will be back competing.”
At present the 2020 WTA season is set to end during the first week of November with the prestigious end-of-season finals being played in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Where there is $14 million in prize money available. Any extension to the tour will give players less time to prepare during the off-season ahead of the following year which always begins during the first week of January.
Regardless of what may happen, the WTA has admitted that they will not be able to financially support every player in a way they would have hoped. Explaining they can only reimburse players for how they perform on the court.
“We wish there was a way everyone, especially those in need the most, could be compensated at the level they were expecting, but the needs are so great and the WTA unfortunately is not in a financial position to do that,” the WTA said.
“Professional tennis players are independent contractors and not employees of the WTA. As a result, a player’s compensation is based on on-court competition and when tournaments are not held this puts a pause on their principal revenue flow.
“The WTA fully recognises the challenges these athletes are facing as well as those similar challenges being dealt with from millions of people around the world during this unprecedented situation.”
So far in 2020, four players on the WTA Tour have managed to earn more than $1 million in prize money. They are Sofia Kenin, Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep and Ash Barty. Overall, a total of 90 female players has won more than $100,000.
Disparity in prize money earnings in 2020 (as of March 9th)
1 – Sofia Kenin USA $3,012,043
50 – Marketa Vondrousova CZE – $139,164
100 – Harriet Dart GBR – $92,505
150 – Oceane Dodin FRA – $47,411
200 Kurumi Nara JPA – $28,469
250 – Oksana Kalashnikova GEO – $18,216
300 – Talaba Gabriela ROM – $8,240
Note: players are ranked based on 2020 earnings only
Dayana Yastremska Out Of Australian Open After ITF Upholds Provisional Ban
The attempt by the 20-year-old to play in the first grand slam of 2021 has failed amid speculation of another appeal to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
It’s official Dayana Yastremska will not be competing at the Australian Open this year after an appeal to a provisional doping ban was rejected.
The world No.29 has travelled to Melbourne hoping she would be able to play the first grand slam of the year but now is out of the tournament. She had earlier tested positive for a banned substance Metabolite Mesterlone but was given a chance to appeal a provisional suspension. Explaining why she was able to board a flight organised by Tennis Australia in spite of ITF rules. The rulebook states that players serving a provisional ban are not allowed to participate in activities organised by a tournament.
“An application by Dayana Yastremska to lift the provisional suspension imposed on her on 7 January 2021 under Article 8.3.1(c) of the 2020 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has been denied by the Chair of the Independent Tribunal convened to hear her case,” the ITF said in a statement.
“This decision is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Ms. Yastremska, WADA and the National Anti-Doping Center of Ukraine.”
Yastremska has denied any wrongdoing and says she has ‘scientific evidence’ that her positive test was a result of contamination. Although she didn’t elaborate any further as to what that evidence is.
“Only a very low concentration of mesterolone metabolite was detected in my urine,” she wrote in a statement. “Given that low concentration and my negative test two weeks earlier, I have received scientific advice that the result is consistent with some form of contamination event.”
The 20-year-old is among 72 players who have been placed into strict isolation in Melbourne following a series of positive COVID-19 cases detected on flights en route to the country. She is not allowed to leave her room for 14 days and even then she will be prohibited from entering Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open, following to the latest ruling.
The announcement is a major blow to the beginning of Yastremska’s season. She will have to wait to see what happens next and if she is able to make another appeal before the next event after the first grand slam of the year.
There have been no official statement from Yastremska or her team following the ITF’s decision.
Ash Barty Draws Inspiration From Olympic Great In Return After 11-Month Break
After spending time away from the tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a determined Barty weighs up her chances at next month’s Australian Open.
For Ash Barty her main focus is on ‘doing the right things’ instead of winning titles as she nears her return to professional tennis after almost a year on the sidelines.
Despite being the highest ranked player in women’s tennis, the 24-year-old hasn’t played a match on the Tour since her semi-final loss to Petra Kvitova at the Doha Open on February 28th 2020. Shortly after that match, the sport came to a halt for weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world. Making the running of professional tournaments near impossible. Then when the sport resumed in the summer with a series of COVID-19 restrictions implemented, Barty was one of the few who decided to not travel internationally.
The inevitable question is how much will the break have an impact on the Australian and her game when she takes on the best in the world? The first public glimpse of Barty’s form will be displayed in less than a week’s time when she plays an exhibition event in Adelaide along with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep. The top three ranked players of the Tour’s have been quarantined in Adelaide in part of a deal struck by Tennis Australia.
“I feel like I’ve done all the work,” Barty told ABC News on Saturday.
“I feel like we’ve ticked the boxes and I’m feeling like every single year we continue to develop my game and it’s better and better.
“Obviously I haven’t played competition tennis for a year now so it’s going to be a challenge but we also know that hopefully again it will be a long season and we don’t have to panic if we don’t get the perfect start.”
Whilst taking it all in her stride, Barty hasn’t got long to tune up her game before the Australian Open commences on February 8th. A later than usual start date due to the pandemic. A semi-finalist of the tournament 12 months ago, she is seeking to end her country’s drought of a home champion. The last to do so was Chris O’Neil in 1978.
Due to her ranking, Barty will be the top seed in Melbourne Park but she is refusing to get ahead of herself when it comes to her chances of Grand Slam glory. She has reached the fourth round or better at the last six majors she has played in.
“It’s about doing the right things right from the start, from the very first match, and whether I win the match or not, if I go through the right processes and do things the way we’ve always done it, I’ll sleep well at night regardless of the results,” Barty explains.
“That’s a really important part of our make-up with our whole team. Everyone plays a role and we try and do a job to the best of our ability on that given day.
“If it’s good enough, it is. And if it’s not, it’s not. But that’s okay.”
As to how she will handle the pressure in the coming weeks, the Grand Slam champion plans to follow the example set by compatriot Cathy Freeman. A former 400 meter runner who won a gold medal in front of her home crowd at the 2000 Olympic Games.
“I think her analogy, particularly through the Sydney Olympics, was one of the best I have ever heard,” she said.
“Her picturing herself as a young girl inside a house and seeing the storm outside, you can see it but you don’t hear it. That is really effective and incredible.
“For me it is about accepting that there is noise and extra attention and talk but ultimately that doesn’t change how I hit a tennis ball, that doesn’t change how I prepare.
“As long as I do all of my processes the right way and make decisions for the right reasons then regardless of whether it is a win or a loss, I sleep well at night knowing we have done everything possible to try and give ourselves the best chance.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Barty has returned to the sport following a lengthy break after taking a 18-month leave back in 2014 where she even briefly played another sport before returning. Barty played cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League. Since returning, she has won eight WTA titles, including the WTA Finals and French Open during 2019.
The one-day Adelaide exhibition, which is where Barty will kick-off her return, will take place on January 29.
What Does The Future Hold For Ekaterina Alexandrova?
The anomalous story of a Russian tennis player who perfected her game in Czechia and now has reached a crucial moment in her career.
The WTA season is set to begin in 2021 amidst countless difficulties, with many of the same issues as last year. One of the current peculiarities was on show during the Abu Dhabi tournament: the first round was played midweek and the final was scheduled seven days later, on a Wednesday. Luckily, the tournament scheduling didn’t prevent us from finding some good talking points, because the matches played in the first rounds in the UAE were interesting, like the one between Elina Svitolina and Ekaterina Alexandrova, a hard-fought affair won by the Ukrainian 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 after 2 hours and 35 minutes. During the third-set tiebreak, won by the World No. 5 for 10-8, Alexandrova missed two match points at 6-5 and 7-6.
The score illustrates a tough match, and yet, while watching it, I was sure that Svitolina would defeat her opponent, even when the Russian had those match points. I am not saying that to toot my own horn, or because I have special clairvoyant skills, but because we are talking about one of the classic situations in which the performance of one the player rises and falls in relation to the score. In the second part of the match, actually, Alexandrova seemed to have something more than her opponent, both physically and technically, but she couldn’t beat the pressure of the score. When she was lagging behind, the Russian struck the ball very well, finding the court with greater regularity; but when she had to reap the rewards of her supremacy, she was unable to. Ekaterina gave her best at the end of the second set (when she needed to even the score) and at the beginning of the third set, taking the lead with the first break of the decider. At 4-2, she could have pulled ahead for good, but she was unable to take advantage of three more break points. Once she missed the opportunity to land a knockout punch, the match changed: Svitolina broke her serve at 5-4, and then the Russian was defeated in the decisive tie-breaker, after 18 points.
While I was watching the game, I wondered how far Alexandrova could go in the near future. At 26, she’s reached a crucial moment in her career: she has been playing pretty well for a couple of seasons, breaking into the Top 30 and thus being seeded in the Grand Slam tournaments. However, the question needs to be asked as to whether she will be able to enhance the privilege she has conquered by achieving some important results.
It is not easy to answer. It could be said that her uncertain future is the epitome of what Russian women’s tennis has been experiencing in recent seasons – after soaring in the first decade of the 2000s, nowadays it struggles to maintain itself on levels of excellence. Moreover, it is normal wondering who could further the legacy of Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Dementieva & Co.
Currently, Alexandrova is 33rd in the WTA Ranking and the highest-ranked Russian this week. Hers is a peculiar case, because her progress has mostly happened in another country.
Dayana Yastremska Out Of Australian Open After ITF Upholds Provisional Ban
Corrado Barazzutti believes that Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner can win a Grand Slam title in the future
Tennis And Data: Methods Used To Collect Information And How Much Each One Cost!
Dominic Thiem dreams to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros
Theodore (Ted) Lumpkin Jr. – A Tuskegee Airman And Tennis
Ion Tiriac Launches Fresh Tirade Against Serena Williams
REPORT: Novak Djokovic Sends Letter To Australian Open Chief Over Quarantine Measures
Fitness Not The Reason Behind Roger Federer’s Australian Open Withdrawal, Says Official
Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin Loses Management Contract
EXCLUSIVE: How Matt Roberts Became One Of The Voices Behind The Tennis Podcast
Steve Flink: “Medvedev Deserved To Win, But Is This Really The Onset Of A New Era?”
Steve Flink On The Decline Of American Men’s Tennis: “We Need To Start Attracting The Best Athletes Again”
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Grand Slam3 days ago
Tennis Umpire Bernardes Suffers Heart Attack In Melbourne Quarantine
ATP2 days ago
No Advantage For Those Quarantining In Adelaide, Says Dominic Thiem
ATP2 days ago
‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne
ATP2 days ago
ATP Cup Draw Places Novak Djokovic On Collision Corse With Zverev And Shapovalov
Latest news3 days ago
Ashleigh Barty and Jannik Sinner join super field at “A Day at the Drive” exhibition event in Adelaide
ATP1 day ago
Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia
Latest news2 days ago
ATP Cup Draw Ceremony to be held on Friday in Melbourne
Latest news1 day ago
Paula Badosa tested positive for Covid-19