Tournament Director Reveals Mysterious Withdrawal of Kristina Mladenovic from WTA Strasbourg

Published 09/19/2020, 3:35 PM EDT


World No. 44 Kristina Mladenovic was forced to withdraw from the 2020 US Open citing health reasons. She sunk in disappointment over the way her campaign at flushing meadows ended. Moreover, Mladenovic was invited to play at the WTA Strasbourg Open, but later pulled out due to a bizarre reason. 

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Mladenovic’s doubles partner, Timea Babos, published an emotional post on social media, shortly after their US Open exit. Babos expressed her uncontrollable emotions, which undeniably made tons of fans empathize with her. 

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To recapitulate, the US Open organizers had asked Babos and Mladenovic to withdraw from the tournament. This decision was based on the fact that Mladenovic was in close contact with Benoit Paire.

Paire tested positive for COVID-19, causing huge chaos. After issuing isolation procedures to Mladenovic and a few other French athletes, the organizers decided not to gamble with the health protocols. 

As a result, they withdrew Babos and Mladenovic’s name from the draw, and the pair forfeited the tournament. This caused outrage among many, but they had to accept the rules and step out. The question begs itself – was this the reason why Mladenovic has pulled out from the WTA Strasbourg Open that starts tomorrow? 

WTA Strasbourg tournament director reveals why Kristina Mladenovic has denied to participate

Apparently, Kristina Mladenovic received a wild card entry to the WTA Strasbourg Open that the 27-year-old initially accepted and later denied. What made Mladenovic sit out at the last moment? Strasbourg tournament director Denis Naegelen revealed in her statement. (Quotes translated from French) 

“I prefer not to comment on this decision,” Naegelen said. “For only explanation, I was told that she did not want to move from the New York bubble to that of Strasbourg, while the two organizations have nothing to do.” 

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Naegelen is referring to the US Open bubble in his comments above. It saw several controversies over the course of the tournament’s completion. Maybe, Mladenovic is hesitant about entering another bubble and face further withdrawals!

“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,” Naegelen said. “We pay attention to the health of everyone, not just a few… “

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Even with this explanation, the actual reason why Kristina Mladenovic decided not to participate at Strasbourg seems mysterious. Well, on the brighter side, we’ll see her competing at Roland Garros which is all set to commence in a week. The defending doubles champ has a lot on her hat, and a crown to retain! 

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Arjun Athreya

1826 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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