WTA adds two events, adjusts rankings method for 2020

The WTA has changed its 2020 schedule and player ranking method as women's tennis is about to restart after being put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, it was unveiled that the WTA will make its 2020 appearance starting from he Palermo Ladies Open on August 3, and two more events for the week of August 10 – the Prague Open in the Czech Republic and the Top Seed Open in Lexington, the U.S.

The U.S. event replaces a hardcourt Washington stop that's typically played alongside an ATP Tour event.

"As the WTA Tour looks to return to competition in 2020, we are pleased to provide additional playing opportunities for our athletes," WTA chairman Steve Simon said.

The WTA rankings system calculates results for ratings for seedings and entry draws typically based on a player's top 16 singles results or 11 doubles results over the past 52 weeks, among which some are weighted more. 

The rankings were frozen on March 16 due to the COVID-19 hiatus, with rankings extended beyond 52 weeks as the tour reviewed what needed to be done upon returning to play. 

Australia's Ashleigh Barty, the 2019 French Open champion, tops the frozen women's singles rankings.

The WTA will follow a better of 2019 and 2020 model with player commitment requirements eliminated for 2020.

The revised system will have a player's best 16 singles or 11 doubles results in events from March 2019 and December 2020 with the best of 2019 and 2020 points to be used.

No player, however, can count the same WTA event or Grand Slam tournament twice in compiling her rankings.

Points added in 2020 will drop after the same event is set to be played in 2021 or after 52 weeks, whichever comes first.

Qualifying for the WTA Finals Shenzhen was tweaked with a player's 16 best results from 2020 events to be used in the Race to Shenzhen singles standings, with the top eight players qualifying for the WTA Finals.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover image: Ashleigh Barty of Australia in action during the WTA Qatar Open 2020 in Doha, Qatar, February 27, 2020. /VCG)