Linz pulls out all stops to get last-minute Top 10 player
The WTA tournament in Linz has given a last-minute wild card to world No. 10 Angelique Kerber, who is chasing points in attempt to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul. The only way the tournament was able to place Kerber in the draw on Sunday just before Monday’s order of play was to have one of its other wild cards withdraw.
That wild card turned out to be No. 337 Lisa-Maria Moser of Austria, who was said to have withdrawn for “personal reasons,” but was given a wild card into doubles, which the tournament described in a statement as “a small compensation.”
The International Series tournament had lost its top seed, Petra Kvitova, on Saturday after she withdrew with a back injury. Under WTA rules, once qualifying had started, only a lucky loser could replace a non-wild card player such as Kvitova.
So apparently, in order to get a Top 10 player into the draw, tournament director Sandra Reichel asked Moser to bow out.
“Angie is totally happy,” Reichel said. “And for me, this is of course also great of still being able to invite a top 10 player at such short notice.”
Reichel needed to get approval from the WTA to make the move, which a source said complied with the rules.
Moser was quoted by the tournament as saying: “A top 10 player is very important for the tournament and I can’t blame anyone.”
However, at least one player wasn’t pleased. Ana Ivanovic, who was the second seed at the bottom half of the draw but was moved into the top section as the No. 3 seed, tweeted: “One of those things when you realize you're powerless... No matter what they say! #linzdraw”
Top 10 players are only allowed to play two International Series tournaments per season. Kerber has been allowed to play three because, in the summer, she played the International Series event in Washington D.C. when the Premier Level tournament in Carlsbad was over-subscribed. Kerber also played the International Series tournament in Monterrey, Mexico.