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I'm surprised Venus is on the list. She has a speaking engagement in the US on May 9.
 

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Serena and Venus won’t be playing here. I don’t have a source but it’s obvious.

They may play Rome or just wing it and rock up at the FO without match practice.
 

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I don't know for sure, but SW may has her own rules...?
Entry is automatic, but apparently she has immediately withdrawn.
I don't think she may care about the zero in the ranking and about possible fines, that can be anyway skipped just making some PR activity.
 

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Entry is automatic, but apparently she has immediately withdrawn.
I don't think she may care about the zero in the ranking and about possible fines, that can be anyway skipped just making some PR activity.
There's no fine, she qualifies for the ability to skip a couple of the mandatory tournaments. I don't remember exactly the rules but I know it's being over 30, having over a certain number of matches played throughout your career and something else. And for each of those you can skip a mandatory tournament and I think she has all three. So essentially as long as she goes to two P5 (Rome, Rogers Cup or Cincinnati, take your pick) and at least one PM (she already has two) she is absolutely fine. And because she has two PMs already (of the four) she can continue to skip Beijing and Madrid and even one of the Slam if she so chooses. And that's just straight up refusing to go, if you're injured you can of course not go to any mandatory tournament.

So essentially her status affords her to play just the Slams, IW+Miami, and two of Rome, Rogers Cup or Cincinnati. This is also how Roger Federer gets away with not playing the clay season, which is longer in the ATP than the WTA (3 Tier 1s instead of just 2).
 

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There's no fine, she qualifies for the ability to skip a couple of the mandatory tournaments. I don't remember exactly the rules but I know it's being over 30, having over a certain number of matches played throughout your career and something else. And for each of those you can skip a mandatory tournament and I think she has all three. So essentially as long as she goes to two P5 (Rome, Rogers Cup or Cincinnati, take your pick) and at least one PM (she already has two) she is absolutely fine. And because she has two PMs already (of the four) she can continue to skip Beijing and Madrid and even one of the Slam if she so chooses. And that's just straight up refusing to go, if you're injured you can of course not go to any mandatory tournament.

So essentially her status affords her to play just the Slams, IW+Miami, and two of Rome, Rogers Cup or Cincinnati. This is also how Roger Federer gets away with not playing the clay season, which is longer in the ATP than the WTA (3 Tier 1s instead of just 2).
The age and years of service rule applies only to give the option to be exonerated from the inclusion into the Top 10 list (as did Venus last year).

Even if it may appear odd, from this respect Serena is just a "normal" player.
 

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I read this tweet for Federer's exemption the other day, but that's the ATP. So the rules a vastly different from the WTA?

They've had this type of rule in the APT for ages, since at least as far back as when Agassi and Hewitt were in the latter stages of their respective careers. The mandatory aspect of the WTA wasn't even a thing at the time, so I think the whole system is still evolving in the WTA. Undoubtedly the schedule and entry rules will become more and more like the ATP as time goes on.
 
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