Women’s Hospital Classic is top seed’s first tournament since Wimbledon
This is a copy of an article that appeared in the Courier and Press. Written by Chad Lindskog on July 23rd. To view the original article please see the Courier Press
Caitlin Whoriskey almost returned to the United States after losing her doubles qualifying match for Wimbledon.
She had been in Great Britain for roughly a month playing other tournaments and wanted to take some time off before this week’s Women’s Hospital Classic at Wesselman Park.
But she and her partner decided to stay a few more days in London. A tournament supervisor eventually called them with news they made the main draw as the third and final Lucky Losers. They were told they were on-deck to play after a men’s match, which was already two sets to none.
“We were in a panic for a few minutes,” Whoriskey said. “But we got our heads straight, came up with a game plan and had fun because for me it was my first time playing there.”
Whoriskey and her partner, Ashley Weinhold, lost in two sets, but they made the right decision to stay around. Not every tennis player gets a chance to play the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.
“The moment I stepped into the venue I was in awe,” Whoriskey said. “The tradition and the history that comes with it, it was a beautiful place. To be on the grounds was incredible.”
She will be the top-seeded singles player in the Women’s Hospital Classic main draw when play begins Tuesday. Qualifying is underway Sunday and Monday.
Still, her singles ranking is 368th compared to being 119th in doubles. She hasn’t played singles since late May because she got on a roll with doubles and wanted it to keep going until Wimbledon.
Whoriskey thought returning to Evansville would be good fit considering she finished as the runner-up the other time she played in 2014.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to see what I can do and hopefully make the best of it like I did last time,” Whoriskey said. “Hopefully I can top that if I play well.”
Last year’s winner Kennedy Shaffer is returning to defend her title. Also in the main draw is 15-year-old Whitney Osuigwe, who is the top-ranked junior in the world.
Former Memorial High School standout Makenzie Myers was granted a wildcard for the second time before she heads to Miami University for her freshman year.
This is the 19th year Wesselman Park is hosting the USTA Women’s Pro Circuit event and the payout is larger than ever. The total purse is $15,000 compared previously being $10,000 in order to promote and provide financial support to the young and aspiring players.
There’s always a mix of players ranging from professionals like Whoriskey to juniors seeking their first few points.
“It’s a pretty decent level tournament,” Whoriskey said. “One girl has been top 200 but has had a lot of injuries lately and is looking to come back, and there are a lot of good college players who have done well in the NCAA tournament.”
If all goes to plan and she can stay healthy, playing singles more often will improve her ranking to a point where she can play qualifiers for grand slams. If not, she’ll go back to doubles.
Whoriskey is in Evansville for her first tournament since Wimbledon, and she’s optimistic she’ll leave just as satisfied.
“It’s going to be hot so hopefully everyone stays healthy and it’s a good tournament for everyone to come out and watch,” she said.