by Ian Marshall
Currently the entry reads a total of 36 men and 40 women from which five men and four women will qualify.
In each of the men’s singles and women’s singles events, the same format is followed with play taking place in a series of stages.
The top four seeds gain immediate entry to the main draw, all remaining players compete in an initial phase comprising 10 groups, with three or four players contesting each group. In line with modern day practice, the draw will be made on the so-called “snake system”, starting with the highest ranked players in order of merit heading each group and so on.
Noteworthy is the fact the players from the same National Olympic Committee will be drawn into different groups.
Players finishing in first and second positions in each group advance to join the four seeds in a main draw of 24 players. Eight will receive first round byes, while players from the same National Olympic Committee will be drawn in different halves, as will the two qualifiers from each group. Play conducted on a knock-out basis, the finalists gain qualification for Tokyo 2020; the finals will not be played.
A total of 22 players remaining, a second tournament follows, the same principle as the first applies; as far as possible players who met in the first knock-out event will be separated. The one major difference is that in the women’s singles, the losing semi-finalists will play to determine the last remaining place.
Seeding is according to the April 2021 Olympic Ranking list; all matches are to be played under the best of seven games format.
The draw will take place at 2.00 pm (local time) on Tuesday 20th April.