British No 1, Johanna Konta, has decided not to play again this year after pulling out of next week’s J&T Banka Ostrava Open because she does not feel comfortable travelling to the Czech Republic where cases are spiking.
WE DID IT!! Climbed the highest freestanding mountain in the WORLD!! Definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life! What a feeling!! And to do it with my whole family... Memories that will last a lifetime. Caroline Wozniacki
Konta’s last match was a first round loss in the French Open to 16-year-old American talent Coco Gauff in straight sets.
The American has received a wildcard into the qualifying event this weekend, where she is seeded No 3 and takes on fellow wildcard Jana Cepelova.
It is the Gauff’s first match since Paris, where she lost in the second round to Italy’s Martina Trevisan.
Fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands has also received a wildcard for qualifying and she takes on Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in the first round.
Another Russian, Veronika Kudermetova, is the top seed for the two-round qualifying event, and she will start against Switzerland’s Stefanie Vögele.
The Premier $528,500 tournament begins on Monday with World No 5 Elina Svitolina currently the highest ranked player in the main draw.
The Ostrava Open, which is new to the WTA calendar, has received an official exemption which allows the tournament go ahead as planned despite new Covid-19 restrictions in the Czech Republic where several new cases of the virus have hit the population, with new infections trebling since the start of October.
Meanwhile, Konta is in London where a Tier 2 lockdown phase came into effect overnight, which means members from separate households cannot meet indoors.
Her defeat to Gauff earlier this month saw her move to 13th in the rankings, which compounded her second round defeat to unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea in September’s US Open.
Before the tournament in Flushing Meadows, Konta split from coach Thomas Hogstedt, who had previously worked with Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki conquers Kilimanjaro
Elsewhere, the retired Wozniacki, 29, has made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro alongside her husband, parents, brother and mother-in-law.
“WE DID IT!! Climbed the highest freestanding mountain in the WORLD!!,” she wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “Definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life! What a feeling!! And to do it with my whole family… Memories that will last a lifetime ❤️🙏#ontopoftheworld #kilimanjaro”
As is typical for TV, the expedition was pre-recorded and currently firefighters are now dealing with series of blazes on the mountain.
Limoges in doubt
It is reported that the WTA tournament due to held in December in Limoges is being called off due to strict COVID-19 measures put in place for the Australian Open, although this still remains in place on the WTA website calendar, one of just three tournaments yet to be played this year.
Scheduled for 14-20 December, the Open BLS De LIMOGES, organisers said on Friday that the 125k level event could be ‘directly affected’ by the mandatory two-week coronavirus quarantine players have to respect before being allowed into Australia, and risks leaving the French tournament with a weak field.
Players entered into the Australian Open, which is set to start on 18 January next year, may have to arrive Down Under as early as mid-December if they want to take part in the first Grand Slam of the tennis season.
Limoges organisers said the Australian quarantine rules left their tournament likely to miss out on ‘the top 150 players in the world’, which means they cannot ‘guarantee a high-level event’.
If cancelled, there would be just two more WTA events between now and the end of the season, with only Ostrava, which begins on Monday, and the Linz tournament scheduled for 9-15 November left on the calendar.