Four Grand Slam winners and a hometown favorite have been awarded wildcards to the 2020 Western & Southern Open.
Kim Clijsters, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and 18-year-old Cincinnati native Caty McNally will compete in the relocated Premier 5 event next month, which has moved from Mason, Ohio to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
Clijsters' inclusion in the field brings the total of past Western & Southern Open champions entered to compete to six, as the 2010 winner joins past champions Madison Keys, Kiki Bertens, Garbiñe Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams in the field.
The tournament's initial player field was announced on Wednesday, which included five members of the Top 10 and 2019 champion Madison Keys.
✅ Kim Clijsters— Western & Southern Open (@CincyTennis) July 30, 2020
✅ Caty McNally
✅ Naomi Osaka
✅ Sloane Stephens
✅ Venus Williams
Four Major champions and a Cincinnati native secure wild cards into the 2020 #WesternandSouthernOpen.
📰: https://t.co/z7ElR3mlDh pic.twitter.com/vWKhYDIJ9r
The Belgian, who announced a return to professional tennis after a nearly eight-year hiatus ahead of the 2020 season, will contest her third tournament of the year after appearances in Dubai and Monterrey before the tour's hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-time US Open champion will compete in the Western & Southern Open for the first time since winning her title in 2010, and for the third time overall. In 2009, Clijsters made her first return to professional tennis at the Lindner Family Tennis Center after a two-year hiatus, as a wildcard with no WTA ranking.
That year, she defeated three Top 20 opponents, including then-World No. 6 Svetlana Kuznetsova, before losing to World No. 1 Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals - and went on to win her second US Open as a wildcard later that summer.
All five women awarded wildcards have in fact won a trophy in New York in prior years, with Clijsters, Osaka, Stephens and Williams holding seven women's singles titles at the US Open between them. The teenaged McNally was a junior star in Flushing Meadows, and partnered Coco Gauff to win the 2018 girls' doubles title.
McNally, a native of Madeira, Ohio, will be making her third overall appearance at the Western & Southern Open, having also received a wildcard last year to compete at the event in its traditional home of Mason. The teenager made her WTA debut in the doubles draw of the 2017 event, receiving a wildcard alongside Alexa Glatch.
The top eight seeds in the Western & Southern Open draw will receive first round byes, while 12 players will be added to the men's and women's singles fields through a two-round qualifying event that will be held on Aug. 20-21. The deadline for players to enter the qualifying event is Aug. 3, while main draw play will begin on Aug. 22.