By Alessandro Mastroluca
- The 2020 season is starting. In the first week, Great Britain will play the brand-new ATP Cup without Andy Murray, who pulled out because of his pelvic injury
- Johanna Konta will begin the campaign at the Brisbane International, featuring six top 10 players including World No.1 Ashleigh Barty
- Serena Williams will play in singles and doubles with her longtime friend Caroline Wozniacki at the ASB Classic in Auckland
LONDON, UK – The 2020 season is starting. In the first week of the season, Great Britain will play the ATP Cup without the injured Andy Murray. Kyle Edmund is an alternate in Doha. Johanna Konta chose to begin her campaign at the Brisbane International
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The brand-new ATP Cup, the traditional Qatar Open in Doha, the WTA stars playing in Brisbane, Auckland and Shenzhen will give tennis fans the first emotions of the 2020 season. Ready to rumble for the beginning of the campaign?
Great Britain without Andy Murray in the ATP Cup
Andy Murray pulled out of the ATP Cup and the Australian Open because of a pelvic injury. The former World No.1 played only once in the Davis Cup Finals because of that issue and didn’t travel to Miami with his team for his scheduled December training block.
Frustrating as it might be, Murray decided not to rush back for the beginning of the season. James Ward will replace him at the brand new ATP Cup, to be held in Australia from January, 3rd. He will join captain Tim Henman, British No.1 Dan Evans, who started 2019 at No. 192 in the ATP Rankings and finished it at No.42, one spot off his career-high, Cameron Norrie, Joe Salisbury, who broke into the Top 20 in the doubles ranking for the first time in 2019, and Jamie Murray.
Among the ATP top 10 players, only Roger Federer, Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils will miss the 24-country team competition offering a noteworthy US$15 million prize money. The group stages competition will be hosted across three cities: Brisbane, Perth and Sydney where the knockout stage will take place. The teams are split into six groups of four. The six winners of each group and the two best second-placed finishers will qualify to the Final Eight.
Each tie will require two singles, between the No.2 players and then the No.1 players, and a doubles match.
READ MORE | ATP Cup 2020, Latest Schedule and Draws
Wawrinka leads the field in Doha
While 26 of the ATP’s Top 30 players are expected to open the season in Australia, Swiss Stan Wawrinka will lead the field at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. The Swiss No. 2, making his sixth appearance at the tournament, reached the quarter-finals last year (lost to Roberto Bautista Agut) and the final in 2008 (lost to Murray).
The three-time Grand Slam champion is the top ranked player in the main draw. Also 2018 finalist Andrey Rublev, coming off his best season, World No.29 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and former World No.3 Milos Raonic chose to open their campaign in Doha. After Alexander Dolgopolov withdrew, Kyle Edmund became the top-ranked alternate.
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Konta and six top 10 players at the Brisbane International
Six of the world’s Top 10 players, including home favourite Ashleigh Barty, headline the Brisbane International.
The World No.1, who won her first major at the Roland Garros and the WTA Finals in 2019, targets to become the first homegrown Australian Open champion since Christine O’Neil in 1976. Last year she lost in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park in her personal best performance in the first major of the season having recorded a couple of third-round exits in each of the two previous campaigns.
For the first three days, only the ATP Cup matches will be scheduled on the Centre Court, while first and second round clashes of the WTA tournament will be played on outer courts.
Serena Williams will play doubles with Wozniacki in Auckland
Serena Williams decided instead to come back to the ASB Classic in Auckland for the first time since 2017. The 23-time champion will also play doubles with her longtime friend Caroline Wozniacki, twice finalist in Auckland since 2015, in the first step of the Dane’s farewell tour. The former World No.1, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis after claiming her maiden Slam at the 2018 Australian Open, announced her intention to retire from tennis playing her last tournament in Melbourne this year.
Serena, a bridesmaid in Wozniacki’s wedding to David Lee last summer, is the top-ranked player in the field after Bianca Andreescu was forced to withdraw because of the left knee injury she sustained in her second round robin match at the WTA Finals. The Canadian won’t be able to defend her maiden final reached in Auckland last year as a qualifier, beating Venus Williams and Wozniacki en route.
Also Cori “Coco” Gauff, the youngest player to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon where she eventually reached the fourth round, will begin the season at the ASB Classic. It will be one of the three tournaments, alongside the Australian Open and Indian Wells, she picked to play before she turns 16 on March 13.
Bencic and Sabalenka start at the Shenzhen Open
Belinda Bencic, the US Open and WTA Finals semi-finalist, is the only Top 10 player directly in the main draw at the Shenzhen Open. She heads the entry list that features two other players ranked inside the Top 20. Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and World No.17 Elise Mertens. Two-time Grand Slam winner Garbiñe Muguruza and Chinese No.1 Wang Qiang will join them in China.
The Shenzhen Open, an International event on the WTA Tour calendar since 2013, will also feature 2017 champion Katerina Siniakova and 20-year-old rising star Elena Rybakina, who won her maiden tour-level title in 2019 in Bucharest.
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