Simona Halep withdraws from US Open

Simona Halep
World No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania will not travel to New York to play in the US Open due to COVID-19 concerns. File photo: Reuters

World No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania will not travel to New York to play in the US Open due to COVID-19 concerns, she said on Monday, leaving the women's draw at the Grand Slam tournament without six of the world's top-10 players.

Romanian Halep joined world No. 1 Ash Barty, defending champion Bianca Andreescu, Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Belinda Bencic in skipping the event at Flushing Meadows.

"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," Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion, wrote on Twitter.

"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."

Halep, 28, won the Prague Open over the weekend -- her first event since COVID-19 pandemic shut down tennis in March -- and said she would announce her decision about playing in the US Open on Monday.

The US has become the world's biggest hotspot for the novel coronavirus, recording over 5.4 million cases and more than 170,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

US Open

The US Open, due to start on August 31, will be played behind closed doors and Halep's absence is another blow to organisers following a spate of withdrawals.

World No. 2 and defending men's champion Rafael Nadal decided to skip the tournament while five-time winner Roger Federer is taking the rest of the year off to recover from knee surgery.Former world No. 4 Kei Nishikori of Japan said on Sunday he had tested positive for COVID-19 and had pulled out of the Western & Southern Open, a warm-up tournament for the US Open.

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