World number two Simona Halep of Romania will not travel to New York to play in the US Open due to COVID-19 concerns, she said on Monday, leaving the women’s draw at the Grand Slam tournament without six of the world’s top-10 players.
Romanian Halep joined world number one Ash Barty, defending champion Bianca Andreescu, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic in skipping the event at Flushing Meadows.
For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.
“After weighing up all the factors involved and with the exceptional circumstances in which we are living, I have decided that I will not travel to New York to play the U.S. Open,” Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, wrote on Twitter.
1/2— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) August 17, 2020
After weighing up all the factors involved and with the exceptional circumstances in which we are living, I have decided that I will not travel to New York to play the @usopen
I always said I would put my health at the heart of my decision
“I always said I would put my health at the heart of my decision and I therefore prefer to stay and train in Europe. I know the USTA and WTA have worked tirelessly to put on a safe event and I wish everyone there a successful tournament.”
Halep, 28, won the Prague Open over the weekend -- her first event since COVID-19 pandemic shut down tennis in March -- and said she would announce her decision about playing in the US Open on Monday.
The US has become the world’s biggest hotspot for the novel coronavirus, recording over 5.4 million cases and more than 170,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
The US Open, due to start on August 31, will be played behind closed doors and Halep’s absence is another blow to organizers following a spate of withdrawals.
World number two and defending men’s champion Rafa Nadal decided to skip the tournament while five-times winner Roger Federer is taking the rest of the year off to recover from knee surgery.
Former world number four Kei Nishikori of Japan said on Sunday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had pulled out of the Western & Southern Open, a warm-up tournament for the US Open.
- Nadal not to defend US Open title due to COVID-19 concerns, entries announced
- Halep claims 20th career title with Dubai triumph after beating Rybakina
- Halep wins Wimbledon, stops Williams’ bid for 24th Slam
- New mum Stosur to skip rest of 2020 tennis season but vows to return to court
- Tennis: What the revised rankings mean for top five men champions
- Men’s world number one tennis player Djokovic tests positive for coronavirus