For the first time in its nearly century-and-a-half history, Wimbledon was cancelled for a reason other than war as it became the latest major sporting event in 2020 to fall victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the French Open now only three months away, Australia’s top men and women singles players’ rankings come into focus, as do our senior players’ doubles rankings.
To gain entry into the Roland Garros tournament’s main draw, a male or female tennis player needs to be ranked in the top 100 players at the time the ranking decisions are made, as the remaining places in the 128 player draw are earned by up to 16 qualifiers and a number of wild cards are granted by the host nation.
The Australian men’s rankings have held up well, and it would appear that at least five players will gain direct entry into the second Grand Slam event of the year with at least two players being seeded. Nick Kyrgios – despite some recent injury woes – still leads the Aussie rankings in 21st place – one down from his position at the start of the month.
Alex De Minaur who was injured and unable to take part in the Australian Open in January, moved up one position since early February to number 24 so he should also be certain of a ranking in the French event.
Also moving up one ranking to 40 was John Millman while Jordan Thompson, who briefly climbed to number 63, slipped back to 65 but is still well-placed to feature in the main draw when the tournament starts on the 26 May.
The player who has zoomed up the rankings is the one main draw Aussie competitor who failed to advance past the first round in the Australian Open: James Duckworth. Ranked 96th at the start of the month, in two successive ranking periods he has moved up 13 and then 12 places to now sit at number 71.
Alexi Popyrin has vacillated from 99 to 101, currently sits at number 100 and needs to produce some positive results to be assured of being the sixth Aussie to make the main draw.
Meanwhile, workhorse Christopher O’Connell (#115) and Marc Polmans (#120) have both dropped one spot during the month but should be certain starters in the qualifying field of 128 players which again includes wild cards.
Alex Bolt has improved his standing from 151 to 136 over the period and should also qualify as a qualifier whereas Bernard Tomic’s slide from 190 to 197 during February may put his place in the qualifying field in jeopardy.
Amongst the seven Australian women’s singles players ranked in the top 200 world rankings, Ashley Barty stands supreme and is still ranked number one while Ajla Tomljanovic has improved her standing two places to number 55 in the latest WTA rankings.
Sam Stosur is on the cusp of direct entry still to the one Grand Slam event that she won many years ago, with her ranking dropping from 95 to 99 during February.
The other four Australian women (Lizette Cabrera, Astra Sharma, Priscilla Hon and Arina Rodionova) are all ranked between 122 and 151 and all have suffered a three or four-place drop during February and would be looking at gaining entry to the main draw with a series of wins in the qualifiers.
In the men’s doubles, John Peers continues to lead the way with a ranking of 35, but impressive showings in the Australian Open men’s doubles by Luke Saville (#39) and Max Purcell (#40) means Australia could potentially have three direct entrants into the smaller field of 64 teams (still 128 contestants) in the field in Paris.
Matt Reid, John Patrick Smith, Matthew Ebden and Marc Polmans would be hoping for an appearance somewhere in the doubles, but all have dipped slightly in the rankings for the month and now sit somewhere between 89 and 118.
Amongst the women’s doubles players, Barty and Stosur both command high rankings, 13 and 26 respectively, but Rodionova, Monique Adamczak, and Storm Sanders will have to await their fate. Tomljanovic, despite zooming up the rankings 18 places during February, still appears a long way from a doubles match.