Eugenie Bouchard and Ajla Tomljanovic have been awarded wildcards into the upcoming Guadalajara Open in Mexico, which has been dubbed the worst WTA 1000 event of all-time due to a spate of top player withdrawals. The tournament kicks off just one week after the completion of the US Open, and a number of players are using the time to rest up and get ready for the remainder of the season.
While players would normally prioritise a WTA 1000 event due to the rankings points on offer, many have opted to withdraw due to the short turnaround after the US Open. Seven of the top 10 women's players in the world won't be in action, with World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka joining the likes of Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Elina Rybakina, Jessica Pegula, Marketa Vondrousova and Karolina Muchova in skipping the event.
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Pegula, who won the title last year, will lose 1000 rankings points as a result. “I’m sorry to be missing the [Guadalajara Open] this year after so many great memories last year. I loved collecting all the bracelets from the fans,” she wrote on social media.
World No.2 Swiatek was happy to point out the congested nature of the schedule in announcing her withdrawal. “Unfortunately, I need to withdraw from the tournament in Guadalajara due to change of schedule," she said.
"I need to listen to my body and as the season is very intense – our No. 1 priority is to play it until the end in good health and plan it wisely so we wouldn’t risk an injury. I’m sorry to not be there but I’m sure the atmosphere in Guadalajara will be as amazing as I remember."
The WTA 1000 event was actually held in October last year to replace the Beijing Open. The WTA made the decision to scrap all events in China in 2022 due to the situation surrounding Peng Shuai. But with the Beijing Open back on the calendar in 2023, the Guadalajara Open had to be moved forward.
Leading journalist Jose Morgado re-tweeted a list of all the players missing from the Mexico event, commenting: "If this is correct, may be the worst WTA 1000 of all time. A big chance for everybody that decides to show up."
If this is correct, may be the worst WTA 1000 of all time.
A big chance for everybody that decides to show up.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 14, 2023
So sad honestly, basically this went from a 1000 to a 250, Mexican crowd doesn’t deserve this, probably this is because WTA problems but Mexican crowd has been amazing to players 😢
— Dandresaldi (@dandresaldi) September 14, 2023
WHY was a 1000 event scheduled RIGHT AFTER the US Open? Makes no sense! Players want to recover from play such a grueling tournament. Schedule it in early October, after the players have had some time to recover. Someone is going to win a 1000 title they normally wouldn’t win.
— Jon Robles (@sportsinthekey1) September 14, 2023
I think the season should end with the US Open, a break then the finals, grass season ends with Wimbledon and clay season ends with RG.
— Ghediri Ghassen (@Ghediri_g) September 14, 2023
Eugenie Bouchard and Ajla Tomljanovic awarded wildcards
While the high-profile withdrawals are bad news for fans, it has resulted in some good news for Bouchard and Tomljanovic - who have both been granted wildcards. Bouchard is currently World No.218 - a far cry from the lofty heights of World No.5 she reached back in 2014 when she burst onto the scene.
The Canadian recently revealed she's signed up to join the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour for the 2024 season. Pickleball is an abridged version of tennis played with a paddle and plastic ball. The 29-year-old hasn't yet revealed what the switch means for her tennis career.
As for Tomljanovic, the Aussie is working her way back up the WTA rankings after missing the first eight months of the year with a knee injury. She played her first match of the year at the US Open - beating Panna Udvardy in the opening round - before withdrawing ahead of the second round.
Tomljanovic, who enjoyed a breakout season in 2022 and made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, was due to take on Rybakina in the second round. However she withdrew from the tournament before the match, citing a desire not to push her body too much after the long lay-off.
"My body still needs time to adjust to the intensity of high-level tennis," the Aussie posted on social media. "Don't wanna make this a sad post even though I did pull out today.
"I'm proud of the work we did to get here but it was just a little too early. Thank you to the NY fans for all your support, Monday afternoon was good for my soul. Back to work for me."
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