When the US Open announced their entry lists on Tuesday, there was just one top 10 WTA player missing. But it was world #1 Ashleigh Barty, who decided that she didn’t want to risk traveling to the States in the midst of the pandemic. However, two more high-profile players, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina, have since announced that they also won’t be in New York. Unfortunately, they might be the first of many European players who won’t be competing at this year’s US Open.
World No.7 Kiki Bertens announces she won’t be competing at the US Open. Says the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return to Europe from the US would mess with her clay prep. pic.twitter.com/la61YetT3m
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 7, 2020
It appears that the biggest issue for most European and Australian players is the uncertainty of what would happen after their return home after the tournament. For most European players, it is likely that they would have to go through a mandatory quarantine period of up to two weeks after coming back from New York. And with Roland Garros set to start just 14 days after the US Open, this would unsurprisingly have a significant impact on their ability to prepare for the French Open.
Bertens announced her withdrawal after the Prime Minister of the Netherlands decided against making an exception for Dutch tennis players coming back from New York. Elina Svitolina has also withdrawn from the US Open, with the Ukrainian saying that the risk to her and her team’s health was too great for her to consider travelling to New York for the US Open.
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) August 7, 2020
There have still been relatively few withdrawals from the tournament, but the list of non-entrants does seem almost certain to grow, particularly as the situation surrounding exemptions from quarantine is still uncertain. In the coming days, we will get to know more about which governments will allow their players to travel to and from New York without having to go through a quarantine period upon their return.
The extremely short break between the US Open and the French Open will have to be used very efficiently if one chooses to compete in both events. Many European players may choose to stay at home in order to better prepare for the tournament in Paris. There may well also be real concerns about the comparatively unchecked spread of the virus in the United States, as well as growing concerns about a second wave building in Europe, which saw the Madrid Open cancelled.
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