In this unusual year The Western and Southern Open held in Cincinnati at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre since 1979 is being held in New York at Flushing Meadows to create a tennis bubble.
The double header of Cincinnati and the US Open at Flushing Meadows came about because of the global pandemic and was easy enough to move Cincinnati as it is owned by the USTA.
Over the last few weeks despite the changes there have been plenty of doubts whether the event will go ahead but Cincinnati continues to be given the green light with the courts at Flushing Meadows being resurfaced.
The courts at Flushing Meadows are now being relayed for the upcoming few weeks of tennis where the main stadium will be Grandstand leaving Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong unavailable for Cincinnati.
Who isn’t coming to Cincinnati and who is?
Federer – injured
Fognini, Wawrinka & Monfils – opted out
Barty, Halep, Svitolina, Andreescu, Martic & Kerber – opted out
You might look at the men’s and think, 16 of the top 20 going is good but that won’t be the case. Masters 1000 events are mandatory sign ups for top players who most pull if not intending to play. This does usually come with a fine as it does with Premier Mandatory events on the WTA tour but I cannot imagine the ATP or WTA imposing that on mandatory events this year.
Naomi Osaka surprisingly didn’t sign up for Cincinnati with expectancy on Naomi not to travel despite residing in America. The direct entrants list closed as players knew on Tuesday but on Thursday her team announced she will be playing but because the cut off has been missed she will have to take a wildcard. Same situation with Sloane Stephens, not sure why they made that choice and has much changed in 48 hours to sway their decision?
Caty McNally, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters have been rewarded with wildcards.
The sign up sheet does have Djokovic and Nadal on but as per Masters 1000 ruling they will have to rule themselves out. The ATP and USTA have been very vocal with how strong the entry list is for the men’s draw which I wouldn’t imagine there would push with if there wasn’t confirmation from Djokovic & Nadal etc…
Gregor Dimitrov who was suffering from the effects of Covid-19 for a month does not expect himself to go play both events but is yet to make a decision.
Sloane Stephens isn’t signed up but is going to Kentucky a week or so before. It is expected for Sloane to play the US Open, it would be a major surprise if she didn’t.
Prize money is very different this year.
Winning ATP event last year bagged you $1,114,225 but this year the winner just gets $250,000 so a 77.57% decrease on last year.
There is an incentive for players to travel as more prize money is on offer in the early rounds! In 2019 losing in round one netted you 22,045 but this year it is 24,560. Even in qualifying if you go out in round one you are looking at a 2k increase from last year and round two a 4k increase.