Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard commit to Prague Open
World no. 2 Simona Halep and wildcard Eugenie Bouchard are the first two players confirmed for August’s Prague Open.
The 2020 Prague Open takes place from 10-16 August in the capital of the Czech Republic, a powerhouse nation in women’s tennis. The tournament will be just the second played after a shutdown of four-and-a-half months forced by the global health crisis.
WTA Tour tennis returns at the Palermo Ladies Open which begins on 3 August. Halep will also lead the field in Palermo, and announced on Wednesday that she has entered the Prague Open.
Halep said that she was ‘looking forward’ to playing the tournament in ‘beautiful Prague’.
— Prague Open 2020 (@tennispragueopn) July 22, 2020
Denied the opportunity to defend her Wimbledon title when the tournament was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, Halep’s decision to play Palermo and Prague suggests she is focusing on the quest for a second French Open title.
The 2018 Roland Garros champion was one of many players to have expressed some uncertainty about the prospect of the US Open taking place behind closed doors from 31 August-13 September. The cancellation of the ATP 500 in Washington, D.C. which was supposed to take place two weeks before will not have calmed those concerns. Current travel restrictions suggest that players who return to Europe from the USA would need to quarantine – if that is the case, it would affect those players’ ability to compete in the four biggest events of the clay-court season, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros, which will be played within a four-week period immediately following the US Open.
Halep won her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open and has reached two other finals; she is a two-time Madrid Open champion as well.
The other player officially announced by the tournament is wildcard Eugenie Bouchard.
‘I’m so excited because I’m going to be playing in the Prague Open in a couple of weeks,’ Bouchard said.
‘I’ve actually never been to Prague, it’s one of those European cities I’ve always wanted to go to but just haven’t been. So I’m looking forward to going, and I just want to thank the tournament for offering me a wildcard to play in this great event.’
— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) July 22, 2020
Runner-up at Wimbledon in 2014, Bouchard is currently ranked world no. 328 after a long period of struggling with various injuries and being unable to find form. She reached the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic in New Zealand in January after being granted a wildcard, beating Kirsten Flipkens and eighth seed Caroline Garcia before losing to Amanda Anisimova.
World no. 8 Belinda Bencic has also reportedly entered the Prague Open, alongside other top-20 players Elena Rybakina, Petra Martic and the Czech Republic’s own Marketa Vondrousova, runner-up at the French Open in 2019. This has not yet been officially announced by the tournament or by the players.