Many professional sport leagues have been resuming their seasons recently, with the NBA starting last night, and the NHL, MLB, and WNBA starting last week. These leagues have different plans in place, whether it be a bubble, hub cities, and daily Covid-19 testing. However, the world of professional tennis seems a bit hard to keep up with right now. There are different kinds of tournaments happening all around the world, with many star players participating. Nonetheless, some of the big tournaments might not see these lead players.
The Western & Southern Open, also known as The Cincinnati Open, is set to take place in the same arena as the US Open, to better maintain a ‘controlled environment,’ from August 20-28, 2020. As of July 29 at 10 am, the tournament released the entry list of players allowed, with many considerable athletes on it, but some big names missing.
Nadal, Pliskova, and Williams are a few of the players scheduled to play in The Cincinnati Open. Some noticeable absences include world number 1 Ashleigh Barty, along with number 2 player Simona Halep. Barty voiced her doubt of playing in the United States, concerned with the danger of the virus. Simona Halep is currently quarantining in Romania, as she recently announced her withdrawal from the Palermo Open.
Given the recent rise in Covid19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo. I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all efforts on my behalf 🙏
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) July 26, 2020
Since the Cincinnati Open is taking place in the same arena as the US Open, we can assume that players who pull out are also not participating in this major. What does this mean for the tournament? Well, the USTA (United States Tennis Association) is still going ahead with the tournaments, striving to ensure they can maintain the health of all players and staff. Due to the pandemic, there will be no fans in attendance and players will stay in hotels in a contained environment.
One could make the argument that whoever wins these tournaments had it easier, with many top players out of the mix. Another thing to watch out for will be the shift in rankings due to changes in points when the WTA and ATP tours return. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the first major tournament since the Australian Open in January will play out in these unprecedented conditions.