Interesting thing is that although probably most of these players will indeed play , and the Australian Open is a GS anyway so it won't' affect them so much but,
if you have rumours like this, after what has been happening in recent years, with all the wta lies and the wta hidding things, would you buy tickets in advance to see a particular player?
This will start affecting the bottom line of the tournament profits, and certainly, the small tournaments are not being very smart by promoting stars that were never going to play, you know, people aren't THAT stupid.
I would like to know what are the advanced tickets sales in Sydney, they probably did sell a bit thanks to Hingis, so they are probably ok but the tournaments after the Australian Open may start feeling it.
Each time you have this kind of announcement, the rope gets tighter around Larry Scott's neck, he has less and less to offer the tournaments, any prize is too little to get rid of him (and I am so sure he won't get a job anywhere else)