Women's world number two Simona Halep confirmed on Tuesday that she will not be taking part in the US Open due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2019 Wimbledon champion kicked off preparations and revealed for Pro TV that in 2020 she will play only in Europe, eliminating from the start the United States of America and China, where the pandemic was born, according a report in EuroSport.
Halep, who had previously also raised concerns about the situation, had also said that the precautions need to be looked at seriously.
“I certainly have big doubts about participating in such conditions. Not only because we are in a pandemic, but also because of the risk that travel, quarantine and changes that may occur during a tournament would entail. I know that the organizers and sponsors want the tournaments to be played and that many players are going through difficult times, but it is a personal decision that we have to make. It is important to understand that everyone has different needs and that we have to make the optimal decision for our health and career,” Halep had told the New York Times.
Și-a antrenat serviciul spre exteriorul terenului,@Simona_Halep a pus pariu cu antrenorul sau ca nimereste semnele puse pe teren pe 20 de flotari si le-a lovit din prima. Va participa in 2020 doar la turneele din Europa. pic.twitter.com/BkzqwWsnM5— Nedelcu Iulian (@IulianNedelcu) June 16, 2020
On Monday, world number one Ashleigh Barty said that she does have concerns about the US Open which is scheduled to start on August 31 behind closed doors.
"I have concerns too," Barty said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
"I understand the tournaments are eager to run but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority."
"I can't wait to get back out there and play but we have to make sure it's safe to do so first, not just for me but for my team," Barty said.
Reports on Monday said the USTA is set to confirm the tournament will go ahead without fans despite New York City recording hundreds of new coronavirus cases every day.
US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster has said organizers have been trying to figure out how to "engage fans virtually," making it unlikely that fans or at least large groups of fans will be allowed to attend.
Under proposals to get the tournament started, players would need to prove they had tested negative for COVID-19 before traveling on charter flights the USTA would organise from a handful of cities. There would likely be daily health questionnaires and temperature checks, along with occasional nasal, saliva or antibody testing.
Stars such as Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic have said they would have concerns about playing the tournament under the health protocols designed to keep the players safe.
The outspoken Kyrgios had called the organisers selfish.