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Empty feeling at Mercury Insurance Open

August 2, 2011 |  6:42 pm

With the withdrawal of Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova from the Mercury Insurance Open, many tennis fans in Carlsbad may be spending their week watching a lot of players they’ve never heard of.

Several big names including Kim Clijsters have already withdrawn from the annual event, and according to the San Diego Union Tribune, a WTA official confirmed Monday that the tour owes the tournament $50,000 for not satisfying entry minimums for a premier event.

Tour by-laws, mandate that premier tournaments include one player ranked in the top six and two in the top 10. This year’s field includes only one top-10 player: Vera Zvonareva.

But according to five-time grand slam winner Marina Hingis, women’s tennis as a whole is undergoing a change that further hinders name recognition. At the moment, the WTA lacks what she called “true grand slam champions.”

Hingis, who has won in Carlsbad twice, recalls playing the likes of Americans Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters, sometimes in succession, at major tournaments throughout her career. Through Serena Williams appears to be climbing back up the ranks, the highest ranking American as of Tuesday is No. 31 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who announced on her Twitter account that she was also pulling out of the Mercury Insurance Open.

“You had more top solid players [when I played] then what you have today,” Hingis said Monday. “But there’s a wider selection today, and you have to be 100% all the time.”


Agnieska Radwanska advances at Mercury Open

Martina Hingis mulls another tennis comeback

Tennis event at La Costa loses several marquee players

-- Matt Stevens

Photo: Sabine Lisicki serves during her match against Greta Arn at the Mercury Insurance Open on Tuesday. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images