Even though earlier this week the US Open proudly announced that nine of the Top 10 women in the world headline the initial women’s singles entry list, concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic have forced fifth-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and seventh-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands to opt out of traveling to New York.
Last year’s US Open semifinalist Svitolina informed her social media followers:
Considering all the aspects, I have decided to not play the US Open 2020. I want to thank the USTA, organizers and 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 US without putting my team and myself at high risk.
Bertens, whose best US Open showings have been two third-round appearances, has made the decision not to participate in the Grand Slam mostly in order to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine when she gets back to her home country, as it would prevent her from being able to play the subsequent Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and Roland Garros in Paris:
After long consideration I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati and the US Open. The situation around COVID-19 is still that worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority. 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.
The US Open will be played August 31st-September 13th at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The major provides $53.4 million in total player compensation, only 5% decrease from 2019.
Kim Clijsters and seven American players have been awarded wildcards. When it comes to those who will skip the event, besides Svitolina and Bertens, the list includes world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, 30th-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and others.