If there’s an exercise that doesn’t add much to the conversation but does give the tournament an opportunity to start getting its message out, it’s a Grand Slam tournament announcing its entry lists.
The top 200 are typically all entered automatically – unless there is a long-term injury.
As a result, the suspense is in the leadup to the first ball bring struck, as the players who won’t make the date withdraw sooner – or, usually – late in the dance.
To give you an idea, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard is in the field – even though she had shoulder surgery less than two months ago.
On Wednesday, the USTA announced its fields for this year’s event, which is scheduled to be held in front of normal capacity crowds from Aug. 30 – Sept. 12, and without the restrictions on the players that were place in 2020.
Last year, there were no fans in attendance, and almost no media.
Men’s field led by Novak Djokovic
The top 103 men (with Lucas Pouille being the last one in at No. 103) plus Philipp Kohschreiber (with a protected ranking of No. 96 that he also used to get into the Olympics) make up the 104-player direct entry.
The 128-player field is further filled out with 16 qualifiers and eight wild cards.
On the bubble is Andy Murray. At No. 104, the first withdrawal will mean that Murray will get straight in.
Women led by Ashleigh Barty
For the women, there are a few additional protected rankings being used.
Yaroslava Shvedova (No. 46), Ivana Jorovic (No. 90) and Carla Suárez Navarro (No. 68) and Samantha Stosur (No. 97) – all of whom are in Tokyo – are in on their protected rankings.
One who is not is Elena Vesnina.
No. 21 Kiki Bertens, who is in Tokyo, is officially retiring after the Olympics. So she is missing from the entry list.
So is No. 43 Svetlana Kuznetsova, a former champion.
So is No. 52 Saisai Zheng, an Olympian.
But No. 49 Qiang Wang, also an Olympian, does appear on the list.
No. 93 Zhu Lin is absent.
That puts the initial cutoff at No. 104, which is Sara Errani.
Venus Williams, at No. 108, is four withdrawals from making it straight in.
But even on the small chance that she doesn’t, she won’t have an issue getting a wild card.
Cincinnati entry lists follow same pattern
The entry lists for the Western and Southern Open follow the same pattern in that “just about” everyone is entered.
Every single ATP player ranked in the top 43 is entered, plus Kei Nishikori (using his protected ranking of No. 10.
On the women’s side, only the aforementioned Bertens is missing, along with Kuznetsova.
The Russian has made herself fairly scarce of late.