Is the relevance of a WTA 250 set to diminish further with the absence of top 30 players? TT's Vicki Contavespi explores the possibility further.
Ever since Ostrava Tournament Director Tomáš Petera made remarks about changes to the WTA’s 250-level tournaments, there have been murmurings that they might disappear altogether.
With the winner of a WTA 250 normally taking home around $110,000 (€103,000), the tournaments generally attract players ranked lower than the top ten anyway.
But Petera hinted that new proposals from the authorities suggests top-30 players might not be able to enter at all, which would make the tournaments even less relevant and attractive to fans.
That said, there are players, like world number one Iga Swiatek, who have their home tournament at a 250 event. Hers being in Warsaw.
Talking Tennis tried to confirm any proposed alterations with the WTA, which stated that they “will have an announcement surrounding changes to our circuit structure coming in the month ahead.”
Talking Tennis spoke with Christo Van Rensburg, a former player who is now the tournament director of the Austin, Tex., 250 tournament. He clarified these upcoming changes, but stressed these alterations are subject to change:
· If a player is local, i.e., Iga Swiatek in Poland, she will be able to play her home tournament. · Whoever wins, even if they are in the top 10, can play the following year. · If the defending champ is in the top 30, and another top player is local, both cannot play. This means that A.) If the local player is in the top 10, they are eligible to play; and B.) if the defending champion is top 10, they may also play but if both these options happen, only one option may be used.
In summary, the 250 tournaments may only have one top 10 player and two players ranked 11-30. If the last two options stated above do not materialize, the tournament may have three players ranked from 11-30.
Van Rensburg said: “It will most likely change again because lots of moving parts create new rules constantly, as new events get added and there is more than one event per week.”