Ashleigh Barty won’t be rushed into committing to the US Open as the world’s best tennis players remain divided over whether or not the New York grand slam should go ahead as scheduled in 2020.
The USTA’s announcement on Wednesday that the Open will run from August 31 to September 13, as initially planned but without fans, has caused a stir across the sport with Nick Kyrgios among those most vocally opposed.
After repeatedly branding moves to push ahead with the major at the same Flushing Meadows site that served as an emergency hospital to fight coronavirus as “selfish”, Kyrgios on Thursday continued his attack on officials.
Kyrgios condemned ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi for tweeting “Save the date Friday, August 14” following the men’s governing body’s announcement that the tour will resume then with the Citi Open in New York, an event normally staged in Cincinnati.
“Cheers mate, you’ve really looked after the players during this time. Seriously ??????? fk me, how about you have a collaborative effort with us, potato,” Kyrgios posted.
Fellow Australian John Millman said he too thought the US Open “probably shouldn’t go ahead – but money talks”.
“The USTA’s in a bit of debt, I think. They’ve done a lot of refurbishments lately, they’ve got a massive new tennis centre in Orlando, I think the ATP’s desperate to get some matches on too,” Millman said on a podcast with Australian golfer Matthew Guyatt.
“The players are quite divided on it – some players feel comfortable going there, others probably don’t.
“I’m probably in that category that’s erring on the side of caution after I’ve seen just how good Australia’s done with the COVID (crisis) and probably, with all due respect, how poorly a place like the United States has done.
“So it’s a really tricky situation.”
Women’s world No.2 Simona Halep says at this stage she’s not planning to contest the Open or Citi Open with the health protocols put in place by organisers, while the top-ranked Barty will delay a call until possibly even the last minute.
“My team and I probably won’t make a decision on the US events until much closer to the time. There are still a lot of questions we need answered before making our decision,” Barty told AAP on Thursday.
“As I’ve said, my health and the health of my team is the priority for me.”
Romanian Halep, coached by Australian Darren Cahill, said: “Given the conditions outlined in the US Open announcement, as of today I do not currently plan to play in NYC,” said the reigning Wimbledon champion.
“I would like to underline that my decision is not set in stone.”
Men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic has all but ruled out playing the US Open with restrictions on the number of support staff allowed at the venue, while defending champion Rafael Nadal has strongly hinted the same.