The women join the men on European clay this week, with the first leg of their run-up to Roland Garros in Stuttgart. After gathering in Monte Carlo over the last seven days, some of the ATP’s best head west, to Barcelona, while others go east, to Belgrade. In a rarity, both world No. 1s, Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek, will be in action in a week when there are no majors or Masters 1000s on the schedule.
Stuttgart is small—just 28 players—but it packs a punch for its size. Six of the WTA’s top seven players are in the field. Iga Swiatek, Paula Badosa, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit, Karolina Pliskova, Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu—yes, Emma Raducanu, who is still ranked No. 12—comprise the eight seeds.
The first question will be: Can anyone beat, or even take a few games, from Swiatek? She lost a total of one in her two Billie Jean King Cup wins for Poland on Friday and Saturday.
The next question may be: Is it time for Sabalenka to find her game and turn her season around? She made the final in Stuttgart last year, but has struggled mightily in 2022. She had to watch from the sidelines as Belarus was banned from the BJK Cup this weekend.