Swiatek To Skip Madrid To Rest; Kontaveit, Kerber Also Out Of Now-Wide Open Event
The best woman in the world by a mile, Iga Swiatek, opted out of the Madrid Masters which begins tomorrow in Spain.
Swiatek, the world No. 1, has won her last 23 matches and four events and understandably needed a break to save herself for a big run at another French Open title next month.
“Unfortunately my team and I decided that I need to withdraw from Madrid. I hope to see you next year,” Swiatek posted on social media.
“Basically, it’s not like we have some drama because everything is okay,” Swiatek she added during press in Madrid. “You can see in Stuttgart that basically I’m doing fine. We just thought that this is the best decision for me to recover properly because I didn’t really have time to recover after all these tournaments. After each of them I had like two days to chill out and then I had to come back to work and adjust to so many different things in every place.
“So basically, right now I feel like this is the best decision for us to get ready for Rome and have the peak of my form in Roland Garros.”
Swiatek will be replaced by US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez at the top of the draw. She’ll meet former Top 10 Andrea Petkovic in her opener.
Earlier, Anett Kontaveit and Angelique Kerber also withdrew.
In the top quarter, Emma Raducanu, 2-time champion Petra Kvitova, Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza are among the beneficiaries of the Swiatek news.
The second quarter Maria Sakkari, Danielle Collins, Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka. Sakkari opens against Madison Keys while Andreescu collides with Alison Riske and Osaka meets recent winner Anastasia Potapova. Teen sensation Linda Fruhvirtova in also in the second. Osaka is making her 2022 clay debut.
“Actually yes, I changed a couple of things,” Osaka said of her plans on clay. “I think you guys will be able to tell when I play. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I would say I did change a couple of things to suit myself more for clay.
“I’m trying to embrace my mistakes compared to the previous years as well, so I’m not that hard on myself,” she said. “If I make a mistake or if I don’t move up to the ball fast enough – because I find on clay you actually have to move much more – but if I do stuff like that I just tell myself not to be mad. I’m still a student so I should try to keep learning.
“So I’m really excited to play my first match.”
In the third quarter, Aryna Sabalenka opens her title defense against former French semifinalist Amanda Anismova. Karolina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko (who faces Ekatarina Alexandrova in the first round) and Liudmilla Samsonova could be threats.
The highest seed in the draw and local favorite Paula Badosa is now arguably the tournament favorite. The Spaniard, though, is in a tough second with Veronika Kudermetova to start, then potentially 2-time winner Simona Halep followed by Coco Gauff in the third round and Ons Jabeur, Belinda Bencic or Karolina Muchova in the quarters.
That bottom half of play opens tomorrow including Badosa, Halep and Sabalenka-Anismova.
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