Halep withdrawal deals another blow to US Open

World No 2 Simona Halep confirmed she will not play the US Open

Simona Halep has been charged with second doping offence

World No 2 Simona Halep, who won her first tournament back in Prague on Sunday, confirmed that she will not be travelling to New York for the US Open, which begins on August 31.

“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,” Halep said in a Twitter post on Monday evening.

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“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.”

Absentee list

Halep has added to the long list of absentees at this year’s US Open, which will be the first Grand Slam to be played since the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

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Halep is the sixth top-10 player to withdraw from the Grand Slam. Ashleigh Barty (1), Elina Svitolina (5), Bianca Andreescu (6), Kiki Bertens (7) and Belinda Bencic (8) had already announced they would not be travelling to the USA due to health and safety concerns.

On the men’s side, defending champion Rafael Nadal and 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka have decided to skip the event. Meanwhile, Roger Federer will not be playing the rest of the season as he is recovering from two knee surgeries.

Health concerns

America has been the country worst-hit by the pandemic, with more than 5 million cases and 170,000 deaths recorded so far.

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Though the USTA will hold the hard-court Slam behind closed doors and have put number of health protocols in place, a lot of players are not yet comfortable travelling to the country.

In the absence of the top two women’s players, Karolina Pliskova is likely to be the top seed.