Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens are the latest big names to pull out of the US Open.
World number five Svitolina and Bertens, ranked at seven, have followed in the footsteps of defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty in deciding against playing in New York due to fears over Covid-19.
The grand slam, due to be played in a bio-secure bubble with strict safety protocols at Flushing Meadows, is set to take place between August 31 and September 13, but many players are not prepared to travel.
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) August 7, 2020
Svitolina said in a statement on Twitter: “Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020.
“I want to thank the USTA, organisers and WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans to watch this great event.
“I understand and respect all the the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to US without putting my team and myself at high risk.”
Dutchwoman Bertens added: “The situation surrounding Covid-19 is still so worrying that everyone’s health is paramount and control of this virus is of course a priority.
View this post on Instagram
Tras pensarlo mucho he decidido no participar en el US Open de este año. La situación sanitaria sigue muy complicada en todo el mundo con casos de COVID-19 y rebrotes que parecen fuera de control. Sabemos que el calendario de este año tras 4 meses sin jugar es una barbaridad, si bien entiendo y agradezco los esfuerzos que todas las partes están poniendo para que se jueguen torneos. Acabamos de tener la noticia de que el torneo de Madrid también ha sido anulado. A dia de hoy la situación es complicada para hacer torneos y todo mi respeto a la USTA, organizadores del US Open y a la ATP por los esfuerzos que están haciendo para que se juegue el torneo para los millones de fans que lo verán por TV o en las plataformas digitales. Esta es una decisión que no querría tomar pero en este caso sigo mi corazón para decidir que por ahora prefiero no viajar. After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it. We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year. All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV. This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.
“Our Prime Minister also indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for two weeks after America.”
French Open champion Barty was the first to withdraw before Nadal’s announcement earlier this week that he was not prepared to go to the United States while infection rates were so high in Spain.
He said: “The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
Australian Nick Kyrgios is another leading name not involved, but Serena Williams is definitely playing, Andy Murray has accepted a wild card and Novak Djokovic is also still on the current list of entrants.