Serena Williams on US Open being devalued due to withdrawals: ‘This whole year deserves an asterisk’

Serena Williams

Serena Williams has played down suggestions that this year’s US Open winner will have an asterisk next to her name due to the high-profile withdrawals, saying “this whole year deserves an asterisk”.

Six of the WTA Tour top 10 won’t feature at this year’s hard-court Grand Slam in New York due to the coronavirus as world No 1 Ashleigh Barty, world No 2 Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina (5), defending champion Bianca Andreescu (6), Kiki Bertens (7) and Belinda Bencic (8) have all pulled out.

As a result, some feel the 2020 US Open will be devalued with former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli saying “you can’t really call it a Grand Slam when there is that many people not showing up at all”.

Marion Bartoli on 2020 US Open: ‘You can’t call it a Grand Slam when many players are not showing up’

Williams, who will be gunning for a record-equalling 24th major at Flushing Meadows, says the winner will have an asterisk, but not because of the quality of the field.

“It still has to be tennis that’s played, asterisks or not,” she said. “I think this whole year deserves an asterisk, because it’s such a special year – history we have never been through in this world.

“I think we are living a future history lesson. I think regardless, there is always going to be some asterisk by it, because it’s never been done before.

“If you win, it was, like, wow, I was able to win in this crazy circumstance where there was no fans. It was just so sterile and weird, but I mentally came through. It might be a more mental test than anything.”

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