April 18, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

No Andreescu as women’s Australian Open entries close

Andreescu at the 2023 Australian Open

The deadlines for entry to the Australian Open (and Brisbane and Auckland) are later today, with entry into the first Grand Slam tournament of 2024 being automatic unless the player proactively withdraw.

From what Open Court is hearing so far, only two players are missing at the moment.

Belinda Bencic is expecting her first child, and so out of commission.

The second is … Canadian Bianca Andreescu, whose ranking is down to No. 96 and who hasn’t played (or even trained, from the look of things) since she was beaten by qualifier Camila Giorgi in the first round of the Canadian event in Montreal.

We’re told that she is still rehabbing her back injury, and that there is no specific timetable even set for her return at this point.

With that ranking, Andreescu would have trouble even finding a place to play in the tuneup events. In the big picture, she’s actually far better off just waiting out the six-month injury period, and returning in early February with a protected ranking somewhere in the low 40s. Assuming she can return to full health, of course.

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Protected rankings abound

Once again this year, there are a number of protected rankings that push the cutoff for the main draw – which is the best 104 players – even higher.

Last year, the original cutoff was No. 95. Not all the players with protected rankings actually made it to Melbourne so by the time of the draw, that was up to No. 99.

This year, the players entered with protected rankings are as follows:

Jennifer Brady (No. 14)
Angelique Kerber (No. 31)
Ajla Tomljanovic (No. 33)
Naomi Osaka (No. 46)
Shelby Rogers (No. 51)
Amanda Anisimova (No. 61)
Caty McNally (No. 71)
Aleksandra Krunic (No. 99)
Emma Raducanu (No. 103)
Hsieh Su-Wei (No. 106)
Ysaline Bonaventure (No. 109)

At the moment, with the protected rankings and the two missing players, the cutoff sits at No. 99, which is American Claire Liu.

If and when Tomjlanovic (who is the top Aussie woman, if not currently by ranking because she missed most of 2023 due to injury) is awarded a wild card, her spot would go to Krunic, with her protected No. 99.

Raducanu practicing at the 2023 Australian Open.

That puts Emma Raducanu – assuming she’s ready to play – outside the main draw. Although we’ll all remember what she did the last time she had to play qualifying at a Grand Slam.

Caroline Wozniacki is entered with her current ranking of No. 242. It’s hard to fathom she will play the qualifying, though.

Tough cutoffs to prep for the AO

In the meantime, the usual struggles persist for players who want to get some matches in before the big event.

The cutoffs for the warmup tournaments are, as usual, very, very high. And for those outside, say, the top 75 is very difficult to find a place to play.

Never mind the players in qualifying.

The options are the United Cup (where only the top-ranked player on the men’s and women’s side will, per the rules, realistically get any match play even if some squads have as many as six players).

The WTA 500 is in Brisbane, where the deadline also is today and which luckily has a 48-player draw.

Osaka on the practice court in Melbourne in Jan. 2022

Last in there, so far, is Anna Kalinskaya at No. 76. There are 20 spots available in the qualifying draw, so a few players outside the top 100 will be able to get in.

In Auckland, where Coco Gauff and Elina Svitolina are in, there is only one other top-30 player entered. The main-draw cutoff (with a 32-player draw) is about the same as in Brisbane.

The qualifying cutoff stands at about No. 130, with the deadline not far off.

There is also a WTA 125 in Canberra for players who can’t get into any of these three events.

Will the PRs play?

It’s tough to say.

Amanda Anisimova (PR No. 61) had been entered into the Hobart tournament early on, which is played the week before the Australian Open. But she has since withdrawn although she remains in the Australian Open entry list.

Jennifer Brady (No. 14) and Emma Raducanu (No. 103) don’t appear to have any plans so far for the warmup events, either.

On the flip side, Paula Badosa (PR No. 34), who missed much of the second half of 2023 with a back issue, IS entered in Adelaide with her protected ranking, and in the qualifying with her actual ranking of No. 65. But not, a few hours before the deadline, in the Australian Open.

There are a number of other players who have yet to enter any tournaments before the AO – notably newlywed Shelby Rogers and Petra Kvitova. Camila Giorgi, who has been scarce the last few months, is playing Brisbane.

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