World no. 6 Elina Svitolina had a perfect closure of 2018 season, winning the WTA Finals in Singapore and playing on a high level in almost every tournament since the start of 2019 to keep herself among the best players in the world.
After an early exit in Brisbane, the Ukrainian was the quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, the semi-finalist in Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells, losing to Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Belinda Bencic and Bianca Andreescu in those matches.
The results were there but Elina had to slow down after the most recent loss against Yafan Wang in Miami, announcing that she has been dealing with a knee injury for more than a month, giving her best to compete in Florida but not being able to give her 100%.
After an MRI scan, Elina has decided to take some rest until full recovery, not wanting to risk anything before the clay swing that has to be postponed after she withdrew from Stuttgart. The Ukrainian lost to Caroline Garcia in the quarter-final on her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last year and she will continue to work hard on recovery, targeting Madrid or Rome as the next stops in the schedule.
Svitolina is the two-time defending Rome champion while she never played well in Madrid, winning just three out of eight matches and never passing the second round. World no. 8 Sloane Stephens will lead the USA against Switzerland in the Fed Cup World Group Play-Off this weekend and she has decided to withdraw from Stuttgart as well, leaving the event without two top-10 stars and possible title contenders.
Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber should be in the draw of the strong Premier event that should deliver great matches from the very first round.