US Open: Svitolina, Bertens latest tennis stars to withdraw

Elina Svitolina of Ukraine

New York, (Samajweekly) World No.5 Elina Svitolina and No.7 Kiki Bertens on Friday became the latest tennis stars to pull out of this year’s US Open citing COVID-19 concerns. Earlier, World No.1 Ashleigh Barty too had withdrawn from the Grand Slam in New York.

The US Open is currently scheduled to be held from August 31 with the Cincinnati Open being held at the Flushing Meadows before that from August 22. However, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country, tennis stars have been apprehensive about participating in the tournament.

Svitolina took to social media to announce her decision and her Twitter post read: “Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020. I want to thank the USTA, organizers and the WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans a chance to watch this great event.

“I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk,” she added.

Bertens, too, announced her decision on social media via a long post on Instagram.

“After long consideration I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati and US Open. The situation around COVID-19 is worrying and the health of everyone and control over this virus is priority,” Bertens wrote.

“Our Prime Minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the States. Of course we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay court tournaments in Rome and Paris.

“I hope the situation will soon take a positive turn and wish everyone good health,” she added.

Men’s singles event at US Open will also be devoid of top stars around as defending champion Rafael Nadal and Australian Nick Kyrgios have already pulled out of the competition citing coronavirus concerns.