While the ATP Tour continues apace to carve out a somewhat full schedule in the period following Roland Garros, the WTA Tour had been a complete dead zone.
Every single event save one – including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, the entire Asian swing and all of the indoor European tournaments – have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
And nothing else was popping up to take the place of those events.
The only scheduled tournament that still seems to be on the docket is the Kremlin Cup, the first week of November.
It is scheduled to begin a week after the ATP event of the same name ends; normally it’s a joint event, but they are scrambling for alternate venues there.
But there is a bit of good news, as Open Court has learned that a new event is in the works for the week of Oct. 19 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
It is to feature a 28-player main draw and a 24-player qualifying draw (and a 16-team doubles draw).
It is set to be a Premier-level event, on hard courts, with total prize money of $528,500 US.
We’ve seen this before, so hopefully this time it all works out.
Last month, the WTA had scheduled two WTA 125 tournaments in Prague and Portschach, Austria.
Almost before they even had time to announce it, the Austrian tournament disappeared. And the 64 draw there was folded into the Prague tournament to make Slam-sized 128 draw.
No. 18 seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia took home the trophy.
She needed to win seven matches to get the title (just like a Grand Slam), but earned $48,000 and 160 WTA Tour ranking points for doing it.
Two more tentative ATP Tour events were just announced to fill out that schedule even more.
Czechs helping brothers (and sisters) out
The Czech Republic has been extremely helpful in creating playing opportunities since the tennis restart.
It has hosted back-to-back men’s Challengers in Prague (another is in Prostejov this week) and the second WTA Tour event after the resumption. Also – that super-sized women’s event.
And now, potentially, another WTA Tour event. This time, on hard courts.
The 28 draw means just 18 direct entries. And with the dearth of tournaments at that level, the competition could well be fierce for those spots.
But it’s far better than what was before – which was an empty space.
When you think of all the activity on the WTA Tour that week – before the pandemic came and tore it all to shreds – it’s so unfortunate.