The inaugural Hong Kong Open suffered a crushing blow when it lost its two top draws, Eugenie Bouchard and Shuai Peng just ahead of the start of the tournament.
Peng, a semi-finalist at the US Open this year, suffered from a heatstroke in her match against Caroline Wozniacki and was forced to retire from the contest, leaving her with little explaining to do when withdrawing from the event.
However, Bouchard cited “fatigue” in an official statement released by the Hong Kong Open, as she was advised by doctors to take two weeks off before resuming competition.
While forgiving to Peng’s circumstances, tournament officials did not shy away from expressing their bitter disappointment at Bouchard’s untimely withdrawal and the manner with which she handled the situation.
“We are very disappointed with her and her decision not to come to Hong Kong,” said the President of the Hong Kong Tennis Association to South China Morning Post. “She lost in the fourth round and it took her until now to give us a written reply that she would not be coming. We had her on posters everywhere. We feel let down that she did not honour her agreement to turn up in Hong Kong.”
“When we negotiated the deal with Bouchard, she was ranked 20-something. Her manager asked us, ‘If she cracks top 10 by the time she comes to Hong Kong, can she get an extra bonus?’ and we said yes. For someone to have accepted an incentive bonus, one would expect that she would have known that she would be playing a lot before coming to Hong Kong.
“To say she is tired and cannot turn up because she is fatigued is poor form. Bouchard and her manager asked for a top-10 bonus and after reaching the top 10 she did not honour her commitment,” Chow added.
In a last minute save, the tournament offered German No. 2 Sabine Lisicki a wildcard to the tournament.