It’s a logical decision, but a small blow for the Strasbourg Internationals. Victoria Azarenka, one of the expected headliners of the Alsatian tournament next week, will ultimately not be there. After a title in Cincinnati and a final at the US Open, the Belarusian impressed this week by adapting particularly well to the Roman clay, despite the fatigue of the trip from the United States. Finally, she lost Saturday in the quarter-finals in Italy after a big battle against Garbine Muguruza, and, to keep freshness in view of Roland-Garros, she finally decided to ignore on the Strasbourg tournament (September 20-26).
The competition will still present an exceptional field because it is one of the rare events where preparation is possible on clay before Roland-Garros. Kiki Bertens, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina, three members of the world top 10, will therefore be in the game in all likelihood. On the French side, Alizé Cornet is among the participants, as are Pauline Parmentier and Clara Burel who have received invitations.
The Kristina Mladenovic case, on the other hand, is intriguing. The 44th player in the world decided to skip the event, for no obvious reason. “For only explanation, I was told she did not want to move from the New York bubble (where she had been retained after being forced to withdraw from the US Open because she was part of Benoît Paire’s contacts, Editor’s note) to that of Strasbourg, while the two organizations have nothing to do. In Strasbourg, we strongly recommend that the players do not leave their hotel, but if they want to do so, we rely on their sense of responsibility to be careful. We care about the health of everyone, not just a few …“, however revealed Denis Naegelen, the director of the tournament, to the newspaper Alsace.
The withdrawal of the number 1 tricolor finally allowed the organization to award a wild card to her compatriot Pauline Parmentier. At 34, the 162nd player in the world should retire from sport at the end of the season. The 2020 edition of Roland-Garros should therefore be the last of his career.