WTA adds events to calendar, announces new rankings system

(Reuters) - The WTA on Thursday confirmed the addition of events in Prague, Czech Republic and Lexington, United States, to its provisional calendar which now features 21 tournaments.

Bianca Andreescu of Canada kisses the championship trophy during the trophy ceremony after her match against Serena Williams of the United States in the women's final on day thirteen of the 2019 US Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, September 7, 2019.. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The WTA Tour, suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last month announced it would resume in Palermo on Aug. 3 and the tournaments in Prague and Lexington are scheduled to begin a week later.

“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.

“We are delighted to welcome the teams in Prague and Lexington onto the 2020 provisional calendar and look forward to the return of women’s professional tennis.”

The Cincinnati Masters is scheduled to be played at Flushing Meadows, New York followed by the U.S Open, also at its usual Flushing Meadows home, from Aug. 31-Sept. 13.

There will then be claycourt tournaments in Madrid and Rome before events in Europe and the Asia Pacific region, including the China Open in Beijing and the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen set for Nov. 9-15.

Organisers of the Citi Open in Washington confirmed that they will not stage a women’s tournament this year with the Lexington event to take its place on the calendar.

“Given the unique circumstances and requirements this year, we understand and support Octagon and the WTA’s decision to hold the tournament as a completely separate event in 2020,” Citi Open organisers said in a statement.

“We wish them and local organizers in Lexington all the best for a safe and successful tournament. We still plan to present women’s tennis during this year’s Citi Open and look forward to hosting the women’s tournament in Washington, D.C. next year.”

The WTA also announced a revised system for calculating world rankings when the season resumes.

The rankings traditionally operate on a “Best 16” results basis over 52 weeks but will now cover a 22-month period from March 2019 through December 2020.

A player’s ranking will be comprised of her “Best 16” results over the 22-month period and the same tournament cannot be included twice in her breakdown.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond