Bianca Andreescu withdrew from Indian Wells just days before organizers of the BNP Paribas Open cancelled one of the game’s most prestigious events. But with the COVID-19 outbreak forcing the tennis tour and sports world to come to a halt, Andreescu, the defending champion, will not lose any ranking points – even with an injury forcing her to pull out of the event.
Sportsnet has obtained a memo sent from the WTA to its players Friday evening, in which the tour informed its membership that a frozen ranking has been processed as of March 16. Further, the tour informed its athletes “points from 2019 Indian Wells will remain on the WTA rankings.”
This is a significant development for Andreescu, who has not played a competitive match since November because of a continuous knee issue.
While Friday’s memo brought good news for the Canadian star, it could not have been more damning for the management of the French Open. The WTA sounded off on the controversial move from earlier this week when, seemingly out of nowhere, the French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday that it would be moving the year’s second slam to Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 from its usual date in late May.
The WTA memo reads: “As expressed, it is regrettable and frustrating that you learned about the French Tennis Federation’s decision via Twitter; it was disappointing and a surprise to us as well; the tweet went out while the WTA, ATP, ITF and Roland Garros were meeting to discuss the tournament and options; there was no advanced notice. We understand that the impact of Roland Garros’ move is large and the action disrespectful. The Board is very aligned in recognizing that these actions are contrary to what the WTA stands for and in direct conflict of the wellbeing of its members, players and the tournaments and will continue to advocate for and identify ways to support its members.”
Friday’s letter also informed players that the WTA has joined forces with both the men’s tour (ATP) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to have unified conversations with Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The note says both of those Grand Slams, in addition to the ITF, have reaffirmed their desire to work together.
Players will also be subject to out-of-competition drug testing, even with the WTA tour grounded until at least June 7. They have been ensured that testers will “wear face masks and gloves during sample collection, disinfect surfaces, avoid all body contact and maintain a safe distance from players at all times.” Players are also subject to testing by their national anti-doping organization and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The drug testing is an ITF-sanctioned program, meaning players on the men’s tour will also be subject to the same doping control.