World No 1 Ashleigh Barty is set to skip US Open amid the Coronavirus pandemic, while Naomi Osaka’s management team has confirmed that the former champion will compete at the hard-court Slam.
“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, the 2019 French Open champion, said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.”
The US has been the country hardest hit by the pandemic. As of Thursday, America has reported more than 4.5 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths due to Covid-19. New York, however, appears to have flattened the curve, and there is hope that the US Open will go ahead as scheduled.
It will be the first major to be held since the tennis tours were suspended in March. The US Open is set to take place behind closed doors from August 31.
Osaka’s team dismissed reports that the 2018 champion won’t be competing at the US Open.
According to new agency Reuters, the 22-year-old’s management team told them via email that the reports were wide of the mark and that she would be participating at Flushing Meadows.
They also said that she would be competing at the Cincinnati event, which will take place a week ahead of the Open at Flushing Meadows this year to keep players in a bio-secure bubble.
Osaka has been given a wildcard entry for the Western and Southern Open.