Ashleigh Barty out of US Open amid coronavirus fears
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty has pulled out of the US Open and become the first of what is expected to be a number of high profile withdrawals from the tournament due to Covid-19.
The Australian announced her withdrawal from the Grand Slam event and a lead-up tournament, saying she did not want to put herself and her support crew through the risks involved in such an effort during the pandemic.
“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the US, and (the) Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year,” Barty said in a statement to Australian Associated Press on Thursday morning.
“I love both events so it was a difficult decision but there are still significant risks involved due to Covid-19 and I don’t feel comfortable putting my team and I in that position.
“I wish the USTA all the best for the tournaments and I look forward to being back in the US next year.”
The Western and Southern Open is due to take place from August 15, with the US Open starting on August 31.
Barty, 24, will take time to consider whether she will defend her title at the French Open, rescheduled from its usual northern spring timeslot to commence on September 27.
“I will make my decision on the French Open and the surrounding WTA European tournaments in the coming weeks,” she said.
The Western and Southern Open has been moved from Cincinatti to the same venue as the US Open, with US tennis officials creating a coronavirus biosecurity hub at Flushing Meadows.
Still, world No 2 Simona Halep and defending US Open champion Bianca Andreescu have not entered the lead-up tournament.
Not only is the unravelling pandemic situation in the US a potential red flag for prospective visitors to the country, travellers must also consider having to serve a mandatory quarantine period on returning home.
More than 150,000 people have died in the US from Covid-19, nearly a quarter of the world’s total deaths.
Rafael Nadal on skipping US Open: ‘Going from hard court to clay would have been dangerous for my body’
Rafael Nadal explains thinking behind his US Open decision.
Johanna Konta: ‘My heart rate shoots up for no reason, I wasn’t gassing in any way in my lungs’
Konta explains what happened during her first-round loss.
Simona Halep delays US Open decision to see what changes organisers ‘are gonna make with travelling and stuff’
Simona Halep yet to decide on US Open participation.
Johanna Konta requires medical assistance as she loses at Lexington Open
Konta appeared to be breathing heavily.
Safety first for Johanna Konta as she prepares for US Open
The Brit has had five months at home.
Emily Webley-Smith on receiving financial help from WTA, being anxious about returning and more
Part two of our interview with Emily Webley-Smith.
Serena Williams targets double Grand Slam duty as she commits to US Open and eyes French Open
Serena Williams set for Grand Slam double.
Double blow for US Open as two WTA top 10 stars withdraw from Flushing Meadows event
Two more WTA withdrawals from the US Open.
Could the 2020 US Open be the beginning of the end for the Big Three?
The 2020 US Open is quickly becoming the talk of the sporting world with the event less than a month away.