Stan Wawrinka’s withdrawal from the US Open came as no surprise. The three time major champion had been doing all of his practice on the clay courts and it wouldn’t have made sense to go play a couple of weeks of hard court tennis before Roland Garros.
The problem is for the ATP players is the calendar up until Rome is a little short. There aren’t options on the main tour at all, you either play the one event or you don’t. Part of that comes down to the current situation but also maybe bad planning. The WTA have managed to have a European clay season run-alongside American swing for those not wanting to travel to the states.
Stan is a former champion at both of these majors but as we know his best tennis comes on the clay and Roland Garros was where he won his first Grand Slam title so at no point did I think Stan would risk jeopardising that chance again to play in the USA and have to quarantine on return.
Players want the best preparation possible right now and the best for Stan is to drop down to ATP Challenger tour.
Stan has signed up for back to back events in Prague which will be held at the same site starting from the 17th of August and running until the end of the month.
I think it is a very good move and one that makes sense for Stan in his preparations for Rome and Roland Garros.
There has been some criticism of Stan taking this decision to play a challenger event but the ATP have tied players hands firmly behind their back. They haven’t put on any events outside of USA before Rome and have told top 10 players if they don’t play the US Open they cannot play in Kitzbuhel.
The good news to an extent for Stan is that he can play back to back in Prague, have a week off and decide if he plays in Kitzbuhel before Rome and Roland Garros. Being ranked at No.17 in the world the ruling against participation in Kitzbuhel would not apply to him.
Sometimes for the best for you and your team you have to make decisions which are more beneficial if you are top 15 or top 150 ranked.