As the entry list for the relocated Cincinnati tournament was finalized after yesterday’s deadline, there were two notable absentees.
Neither Bianca Andreescu nor Naomi Osaka – the two most recent women’s singles champions – were entered in the U.S. Open, either.
A few days remain before the Aug. 3 deadline to enter that Grand Slam event; however, everyone who does plan to play Cincinnati also is already entered in the US Open, which is being played inside the same bubble at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queen’s.
We reached out to both their representatives to see what the status of both players is. But neither responded.
(UPDATE: later in the week, Osaka was given a wild card into “Cincinnati” (as was Sloane Stephens; neither, for whatever reason, had entered the event even if they weren’t 100 per cent sure of playing it. On Thursday, Osaka officially entered the US Open).
As for Andreescu, she has basically been MIA since tennis shut down. She had entered the exhibition women’s event in Charleston in June, but withdrew about a week before.
Notably – especially for her demographic – she has been virtually silent on social media, as well.
Osaka hasn’t played since losing to Cori Gauff in the third round of the Australian Open – followed by a desultory 6-3, 6-0 loss to … Sara Sorribes Tormo in the Fed Cup qualifiers in Cartagena, Spain in early February.
Open Court has been told by several sources that the July decision date for the USTA to confirm one way or the other that both the “Cincinnati” and US Open events to be held was pushed back to Aug. 3. That also happens to be the entry deadline for the event.
That already tells you that the house of cards that is the summer hard-court season remains on rather tenuous ground, as much as the USTA has moved heaven and earth to try to ensure a safe event for the players and staff.
It appears, at this point, that everything is going to to ahead.
Only five of the WTA top 10
If social media means anything – and to women the age of Andreescu and Osaka, it’s a big thing – the two have been MIA on the tennis side during the tennis shutdown.
Andreescu has posted only twice (other than paid ad posts) over the last month. And for a player who hasn’t competed since last October, there has been precious little evidence that she has even been on the court – although we’re told she was able to find conditions to safely train during the lockdown.
As for Osaka, who has been developing her social activist chops and even made a lightning trip to Minneapolis to support the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, there has been a lot of this:
She is streaming a workout on Instagram Live on Tuesday.
Neither Osaka nor Andreescu has taken part in any of the exhibition events during the shutdown.
All told – with the late addition of Osaka – only six of the top 10 players on the WTA Tour have entered Cincinnati (and the US Open).
Missing is Andreescu, along with the top two players in the world: No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania.
The fifth is Elina Svitolina.
On Thursday in Australia, Barty confirmed she would be skipping both “Cincinnati” and the Open.
Another notable who isn’t on board for either event (so far) is another former US Open champion (2016), Angelique Kerber.
Think about it: three of the last four women’s singles champions might well not be on hand.
Kerber has just announced another reunion with her longtime coach, Torben Beltz.
No. 15 Petra Martic, who is playing the small clay-court events scheduled to begin next week in Palermo and Prague and will be the top seed at both as it stands, isn’t entered in Cincinnati but does plan to play the US Open. That’s also true for China’s Qiang Wang,
Meanwhile Garbiñe Muguruza, who had entered every event back on the schedule so far, will not be at the WTA tournament in Lexington, KY as originally planned.
ATP roster pretty complete
On the men’s side so far, the only players who don’t plan to make the Cincinnati date so far are popular, crowd-pleasing players: Fabio Fognini (recovering from ankle surgery), Gaël Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka.
The only players missing from the top 10 are No. 4 Roger Federer (who isn’t even back on the court yet after a second knee surgery, and has announced he won’t play in 2020) and No. 9 Monfils.
Other than Tsonga, just about everyone else in the top 50 has signed on.