World No1 Ash Barty to skip US Open over Covid-19 concerns
‘It was a difficult decision but there are still significant risks involved due to Covid-19’
World number one Ashleigh Barty pulled out of the US Open over fears about the coronavirus pandemic. File photograph: Getty Images
World number one Ash Barty will skip the US Open and the tournament preceding it in New York due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the US for the Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year,” the Australian said in a statement issued by her manager on Thursday.
“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 look forward to being back in the US next year.”
The Western and Southern Open, which is held annually in Cincinnati, has been moved to New York this year and is set to start in mid-August.
The US Open kicks off on August 31st and will be held in its usual home in Flushing Meadows, Queens, but will be played without fans in attendance to limit the spread of the virus.
The reigning French Open champion will decide later whether to defend her title at Roland Garros starting in late September.
“I will make my decision on the French Open and the surrounding WTA European tournaments in the coming weeks,” she said.
World number one Novak Djokovic and 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams are among players expected to compete at the US Open despite concerns about undergoing mandatory quarantine when travelling to Europe, which would have them miss tournaments in Madrid and Rome ahead of the French Open.
Naomi Osaka will also play in the US Open despite several media reports claiming she had not registered for the tournament and had decided to skip the event. The 22-year-old’s management team has confirmed via email that the reports were wide of the mark and that she would be participating at Flushing Meadows. The 2018 champion will also be playing in the Western and Southern Open.