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Simona Halep opts out of US Open over COVID-19 fears

Conor Breslin
Conor Breslin

16:35 17 Aug 2020

World number two Simona Halep is the latest big name in tennis to withdraw from the US Open.

Halep, a two-time grand slam champion, has opted not to travel to the US from Europe amid fears over COVID-19.

In doing so she becomes the sixth member out of the top-10 rankings to withdraw from the tournament.

The tournament in New York gets under way at Flushing Meadows on August 31st, just days after the Western and Southern Open at the same site.

“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,” Halep said on Twitter.

Simona Halep joins a number of high-profile names who have already pulled out of the US Open.

They include reigning champion Bianca Andreescu, world number one Ashleigh Barty, world number five Elina Svitolina, world number seven Kiki Bertens and world number eight Belinda Bencic.

From the women’s top 10, 2018 champion Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova are the only non-Americans not to have pulled out.

On the men’s side, world number one Novak Djokovic announced last week that he intends to play despite some earlier misgivings.

However, defending champion Rafael Nadal has ruled himself out due to the pandemic. While an injury will prevent Roger Federer from competing.

Andy Murray will also play in the tournament after travelling to the United States last week. Murray though had fears over the safety of the players and had strong views on anyone breaking COVID-19 protocols.

“I think the repercussions should be quite serious because you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk,” the Scot said.

Djokovic, who has had the virus after staging an exhibition tournament without any social distancing in Serbia and Croatia, was concerned that safety protocols in the biosecure bubble were too strong.

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Andy Murray Covid-19 Novak Djokovic Rafel Nadal Simona Halep Tennis US Open US Open Tennis

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