Romanian tennis sensation Simona Halep announced on Monday that she will not be participating US Open due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. The World No. 2 joins defending champion Bianca Andreescu, Kiki Bertens, Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic and World No. 1 Ash Barty, who have decided to skip the event at Flushing Meadows.

The current Wimbledon champion wrote on Twitter, "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 US Open." She added, "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."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep Pixabay

Kei Nishikori Tests Positive for COVID-19

Earlier, Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori tested positive for coronavirus and has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open which starts next week. "This morning while still in Florida, I got tested for COVID-19 and tested positive," said Nishikori in a statement on Sunday as per BBC Sport.

"I will have to pull out of the Cincinnati tournament at this time. Me and my team will get tested again on Friday at which point I will have another update," he added. The 30-year-old further said he is "feeling well" but will now isolate and get tested again on Friday.

Several Players Withdraw from US Open 2020

A number of players have withdrawn from this year's U.S. Open over fears of contracting the coronavirus that has infected more than 5.3 million people in the United States and killed nearly 170,000, according to a Reuters tally.

Defending champion Rafa Nadal and women's world number one Ash Barty are among those who refused to travel, while reigning women's champion Bianca Andreescu pulled out, saying the pandemic had compromised her ability to reach her highest level of form.

(With inputs from agencies)