World number one Ashleigh Barty to skip U.S. Open over COVID-19 concerns

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Jul 30, 2020, 08.17 PM(IST)

Australia's Ashleigh Barty celebrates after victory against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina during their women's singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 24, 2020. Photograph:( AFP )

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World number one tennis star Ashleigh Barty will skip the much-awaited US Open and the tournament preceding it in New York due to concerns over COVID-19 pandemic.

World number one tennis star Ashleigh Barty will skip the much-awaited US Open and the tournament preceding it in New York due to concerns over COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Barty confirmed that she won’t be travelling for the US Open or the Western and Southern Open while citing significant risks involved due to the dreaded virus while adding she doesn’t feel comfortable putting her team in that position.

“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the U.S. for the Western and Southern Open and the U.S. Open this year,” the Australian said in a statement issued by her manager on Thursday.

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“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 U.S. next year.”

The Western and Southern Open is held annually in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year with the event set to commence mid-August.

Whereas the US Open kicks off on August 31 and will be held in the Flushing Meadows, Queens. However, the tournament is set to be played without fans in attendance to curb the spread of the virus.

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The defending French Open champion will take a decision on Rolland Garros, which is starting late September, later. 

“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, 23-time Grand Slam champion are expected to participate in the US Open. Japanese ace Naomi Osaka has also confirmed she will be competing in the tournament. 

Deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 150,000 in the United States on Wednesday, more than any other country and nearly a quarter of the world’s total, according to a Reuters tally.