The long-awaited resumption of the tennis season on August 3rd in Palermo is getting weaker by the day. After world number two Simona Halep withdrew from the WTA event that is ending a five-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Johanna Konta, who was supposed to be the second strongest player in the field, will also not travel to Italy this time, the decision she made public after Monday’s loss at the Battle of the Brits.
Playing her first match since March, the 14th-ranked Konta suffered a shock 6-4 6-3 loss to world No.289 Jodie Burrage at the Battle of the Brits, a unique team event organized by Jamie Murray at Roehampton to provide competitive action for British players while both the ATP and WTA schedules have been put on hold because of the pandemic. The field comprises of two teams — Union Jacks and British Bulldogs — chasing points in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Konta, the highest-ranked player at the tournament, lacked fluency and was far from her best, while her 21-year-old opponent produced a confident performance.
After losing to Burrage, British number one Konta revealed that she is withdrawing from the 31st Palermo Ladies Open, because she wants to focus on tournaments leading up to next month’s US Open. The International-level claycourt event in Sicily still has three Top 20 players in the field, but so far it has lost two of its biggest names and who knows what will happen until the tournament finally begins in six days. (source: BBC, photo: Jimmie48)