The WTA Tour announced its schedule for 2020 on Tuesday, confirming some of the news that had already been released about some new tournament locations.
As Tennis.Life reported Monday, there will be a new tournament in Albany, in upstate New York, in 2020.
It will take place the week before the US Open, and is the “replacement” for the late, lamented Quebec City tournament.
As well, the WTA confirmed what the ATP Tour and All-England Club had already announced, that the grass-court season is receiving quite a shakeup.
The Mallorca Open is no more (there will be a men’s event there next year). Instead, a new International-level tournament will be added in Bad Homburg, Germany the week before Wimbledon.
As well, the long-running Birmingham tournament will be downgraded from the Premier level to the International level, while a new event in Berlin will become the Premier event that week.
It’s kind of crazy that the company that will run the event had already announced it a month ago, and was posting job openings. And that the WTA is only making it official now.
They already had a mockup of what the old Steffi Graf Stadion will look like, all grassed up.
— Simon Schleich (@SimonSlice) September 19, 2019
Steffi Graf “back on Tour”
The Berlin event will be held at the LTTC Rot-Weiß Berlin, the site of the former clay-court tournaments.
The stadium, renamed Steffi Graf Stadion in 2004 when the lady herself played an exhibition against former rival Gabriela Sabatini, has a capacity about 7,000. But it has mostly been relegated to league matches and junior tournaments over the last decade, when the pro tours left town after a 30-year run.
So in addition to changing the surface, how great will it be to see this tennis icon’s name back to prominence. (Hopefully she’ll even show up).
According to Welt, the structure is in really poor condition. There are to be three match courts, and practice courts are to be built at Olympic Park, some four miles or so away from the site.
But even a couple of weeks ago, they had already begun work on the site.
— Grass Court Championships Berlin (@GCCBerlin) October 4, 2019
Women’s tennis in Lyon
The lovely town of Lyon, France already hosts a French Open tuneup, and a Challenger event.
But now, it will welcome women’s tennis as an ATP Tour event will be added the week of March 2, on indoor hard courts.
That’s the week right before Indian Wells, held halfway across the world in California.
The Lyon event is the transfer of the now-defunct Tashkent tournament, held for the last time a month ago in Uzbekistan.
Another new event is coming up soon enough in Adelaide, which was the former Sydney tournament basically kicked out because of the new ATP Cup. That’s a Premier-level tournament, part of the leadup to the Australian Open.
Finally, a prize money increase
If it seems like the WTA’s International-level tournaments have been stuck at a $250,000 total prize purse forever that’s because … they have. But in 2020, there will be a 10 per cent increase; so the base level of compensation for those tournaments will be $275,000.
The WTA also announced that (like their counterparts at the ATP Tour), the total purse will increase every year going forward.
Meanwhile, the Acapulco tournament, which is a joint event with the ATP Tour, is pushed up a week (to two weeks before Indian Wells) as the men play their Davis Cup preliminary rounds the following week.
The first round of Davis Cup in 2019 was played right after the Australian Open.
Monterrey, which had been the same week as Charleston – right after Miami – will now be the week before Indian Wells.
The Bogota clay-court event, which had been the week after Charleston, now will be held the same week (which will make it even more challenging than it already is to get players down to South America).
And the tournament in Lugano, Switzerland, which also was that week, will be bumped back to the same week as Stuttgart (which also had been the week of Istanbul, which is now the Bad Homburg tournament).
Got that straight?
That second week in April, now cleared, is when the new-format Fed Cup finals will take place.
To view the complete 2020 WTA Tour calendar, click here.
(There’s a typo on the Olympic dates; the tennis event runs from July 25 – Aug. 2).