Automaker Porsche is putting the pedal to the metal to insure WTA European clay season takes off at full throttle on April 19.

The Stuttgart indoor event on the dirt is lining up an all-star cast, with No. 1 Ash Barty the latest to commit for a debut appearance in Germany’s automotive capital.

“Stuttgart is a great opportunity for me to start the European clay court season,” she said in a statement. “I’ve heard a lot of positive things about this tournament and I’m really looking forward to being there for the first time.”  

Backing up Barty in the lineup will be reigning Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka and third-ranked Simona Halep.

Former champions in the field will include Petra Kvitova (2019), Karolina Pliskova (2018) and Germany’s Angelique Kerber (2015, 2016). Also entered: Garbine Muguruza, Belinda Bencic and Victoria Azarenka.

While the presence of spectators is still to be determined by government regulation closer to the start date, social distancing and safety remain the main objectives of the event.

“Whether the tournament will take place in front of spectators cannot yet be foreseen in view of the constantly changing requirements,” TD Markus Gunthardt said.

“We are also in constant contact with the authorities and the WTA.

“I believe we have developed an excellent hygiene concept and are therefore well prepared to create safe conditions for everyone involved.” 

Main photo:- Ash Barty won a Porsche Cayenne from the Stuttgart motor manufacturer in the 2019 Race to Shenzen

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