Citing travel reasons, world number one Ashleigh Barty has pulled out of the US Open that is scheduled to begin on August 31. Barty is the most prominent player yet to skip the event this year.
The Australian star has said that she does not want to take the risk of traveling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open this year,” said a statement from Ashleigh Barty.
“I love both events so this 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 U.S. next year,” the statement added.
A big concern for Barty would also be the quarantine and travel rules put in place by the Australian government. She would require special permission from the government to travel abroad. A mandatory 14-day quarantine is also in place in New York City.
The 24-year old Barty had a stellar 2019 season where she won the French Open for her maiden Grand Slam title. She also won the WTA finals and was crowned the world number one last year.
Barty announced her decision in the wake of players submitting their names for the Cincinnati Open that has now opened entries into the tournament.
Along with Barty, world number two Simona Halep, number five Elina Svitolina, number six Bianca Andreescu, and number 10 Naomi Osaka also aren’t in the Cincinnati entry list.
The Cincinnati Open has been moved to the Billie Jean King National Centre, which hosts the US Open annually. Both tournaments will be at the same venue to help players avoid excess traveling due to COVID-19. The tournament begins on August 20.
Ashleigh Barty is yet to take a call on whether she will make the trip to Paris for the French Open. She is currently the defending champion there.
The event starts on September 27, two weeks after the conclusion of the US Open.
Many players, both men and women, have expressed doubts about traveling to New York City. NYC has seen many cases of coronavirus and this is a major cause of concern.
Source – The Associated Press