World No.32 Svetlana Kuznetsova has become the latest female tennis star to pull out of this year's US Open due to the coronavirus pandemic. The US Open is currently scheduled to be held behind closed doors from August 31 with the Cincinnati Open being held at the Flushing Meadows before that from August 22.
However, due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country, tennis stars have been apprehensive about participating in the tournament. Kuznetsova, a 2004 US Open winner, took to social media to announce her decision to not take part in the event. "I feel very sad, because I have been (waiting) for these tournaments so much, but the pandemic changes all plans," Kuznetsova wrote in an Instagram post.
Several Players Withdraw
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty was one of the first to withdraw and she was followed by a lot of tennis players around the world who opted against taking part in the tournament. Last week, No.5 Elina Svitolina and No.7 Kiki Bertens also decided against traveling to New York this year.
Svitolina took to social media to announce her decision and her Twitter post read: "Considering all the aspects, I have decided not to play the US Open 2020. I want to thank the USTA, organizers and the WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans a chance to watch this great event.
"I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don't feel comfortable to travel to the US without putting my team and myself at high risk," she added.
Virus Plays Spoilsport
Bertens, too, announced her decision on social media via a long post on Instagram last week. "After long consideration, I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati and US Open. The situation around COVID-19 is worrying and the heath of everyone and control over this virus is priority," Bertens wrote.
"Our prime minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the States. Of course we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay-court tournaments in Rome and Paris. "I hope the situation will soon take a positive turn and wish everyone good health," she added.