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US Open Questioned After Stars Opt Out

T
he credibility of the upcoming US Open tennis competition has been questioned after a number of the world’s top tennis stars declared they would not compete.

The tournament is set to start on August 31 in New York, with United States Tennis Association (USTA) chiefs insisting the grand slam will be held, despite the players’ reluctance to travel to America.

Five of the Women’s Tennis Association’s top 10 ranked international players, including defending US Open champion, Bianca Andreescu, world No 1, Australian Ash Barty, world No 2 Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, and Elina Svitolina have declared they will not play the warm-up event in New York, likely indicating they will not compete in the tournament.

Australian stars, Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios, have officially pulled out of the US Open, with Kyrgios continuing his criticism of his fellow players for travelling and continuing to play during the height of the pandemic.

“Let’s take a breath here and remember what’s important, which is health and safety as a community,” Kyrgios said in a video published to Uninterrupted.

“I’ve got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open, and if players want to go, that’s up to them.

“So long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely.

“No one wants people to keep their jobs more than me.

“I’m speaking for the guy who works in the restaurant, the cleaners, the locker room attendants.

“These are the people that need their jobs back the most, and fair play to them.

“But tennis players, you have to act in the interests of each other and work together.

“You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition,” he said, doubling down on his criticism of Novak Djokovic for his hosting and behaviour at the Adria Tour in Europe.

“That’s just so selfish.

“Think of other people for once.

“That’s what this virus is about.

“It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have.

“Act responsibly.

“To those players who have been respecting the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you.

“Play at your own risk and I have no problem with that.

“I will not be playing this year at the US Open.

“It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas: Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“But I’m sitting out for the people.

“For my Aussies.

“For the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives.

“For all of you.

“It’s my decision, like it or not.

“Those are my reasons,” he concluded.

Fellow Australian, Ash Barty, announced her decision to sit out last week, saying the risks involved with hosting the tournament during the pandemic are too high.

“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,” Barty told the Herald Sun.

“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,” she said.