Another WTA event has been suspended as Wimbledon took a backseat, marking it the first time to be postponed since World War 2.
This is no longer a surprise for anybody given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact, both the WTA and ATP committees have formally announced that there will be further suspension of tours this season.
“Regrettably, the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the Tour further; a decision we’ve made in close cooperation with our members and the other governing bodies of tennis,” said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
“Health and safety remains the top priority as we navigate the challenges ahead in these unprecedented times, and we will do everything we can for the Tour to resume at the earliest opportunity once it is safe to do so,” he added.
This will pose a huge challenge especially to our favourite players as the tennis landscape will change dramatically when this is all over.
With that said, together with SBOTOP, let’s examine the outlook for some of our WTA players for the foreseeable future.
Will Ashleigh Barty stay on top?
Ashleigh Barty made history when she became the second Australian ever to sit atop of the WTA rankings since Evonne Goolagong Cawley, but can she stay there for a long time?
The 23-year-old has the tools to maintain her standing as she can overwhelm her opponents every time with her quickness and power on the tennis court.
But looking at the WTA 2020 picks, it’s inevitable that she’ll lose precious points with various events getting postponed left and right.
There’s a stipulation in the WTA point system that requires players to defend their points they earned at the events from last year.
For instance, if Barty couldn’t defend her French Open title assuming this year’s edition will be cancelled, she will indeed lose points. It can be noted that Barty earned around 40-per cent of her ranking points throughout the latter part of the 2019 calendar year.
Losing points will give the likes of Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova, and 2020 Australian Grand Open champion Sofia Kenin more wiggle room to possibly catch up, although Ashleigh Barty has at least a 2,500-point buffer over those three players.
Ashleigh Barty had a solid showing last time at Melbourne and it took an amazing game by Sofia Kenin to be shown the door during the semifinals.
It’s a good thing, however, that this year’s French Open will take place around September to October. So hopefully by that time, we have flattened the curve and our sporting events will resume.
Does this shut down Serena Williams’ Grand Slam chase?
We all know that Serena Williams is in pursuit of history. But her journey to making history anew might be derailed since this season is in great peril.
The 39-year-old American is chasing the untouchable record of Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam singles titles and she has been on the cusp of drawing level with the Australian legend for quite some time now.
Last season had been an up-and-down campaign for Williams. Despite having vintage performances in some tours, her season was hampered by injuries which didn’t help her form.
Since giving birth to her daughter Olympia last 2017, the 23-time Grand Slam titlist has reached only four Grand Slam finals but failed to win in any of them. Her closest was in last year’s Wimbledon final where she lost against Simona Halep.
Now because of the break, many believe that Williams’ chances of grabbing another title is slipping away especially with her advancing age.
“I was convinced last year she was going to win a Grand Slam title but now I’m just starting to feel that it’s not so possible,” said former player Barbara Schett.
“There are players out there who know they can beat her. Her mobility isn’t so good. She gets more nervous and she puts pressure on herself to win another Slam,” she added.
WTA to lay down contingency plan for players affected
For some good WTA 2020 news, the WTA announced that they’ve considered an extension of the 2020 tennis season in order to mitigate the financial losses suffered by the players due to the suspension of the tours.
As of this writing, all major tours in the WTA are postponed until June 7.
“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,” said the WTA board in an official statement.
“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,” the statement ended.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT TENNIS NEWS STORIES & FEATURES