WTA No. 1 Ash Barty on Monday made it a matched ATP-WTA set of US Open doubters as New York Grand Slam officials debate whether to stage the event amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Barty told the AP that she has concerns over the health situation in the US hotspot, where cases are starting to rise again after a lull.

She has been joined in her scepticism by second-ranked Simona Halep, who also sounds unlikely to play the major should it be held starting on August 31. All of Tour tennis is on hold until at least August 1 after being shut down in early March.

The top ATP pair of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal also appear unwilling to play a scaled-down event which will require quarantining in an airport hotel for up to a month with only one other team member present.

Other conditions: remaining in the strict fan-free bubble between the lodging at JFK airport and the Flushing Meadows site with no chance of exit until losing on court.

“I have concerns too,” Barty told the AP. “I understand the tournaments are eager to run but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority.

“[I’m] still getting my head around what the tournament set up would be. I can’t wait to get back out there and play but we have to make sure it’s safe to do so first, not just for me but for my team.”

Also objecting to what he believes will be Open attempts to stage the major to avoid a massive financial loss is outspoken Australian Nick Kyrgios. he also brought up the race tensions throughout the US as pushback on the streets from the killing of George Floyd continues.

Meanwhile, the coach of Serena Williams has told the BBC that his client will likely be happy to play her national Grand Slam.

Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou said the 38-year-old would be able to put up with the onerous conditions as she tries to complete a record-equalling 24th singles title  at a major.

“She’s definitely come back to tennis to win Grand Slams, that’s her goal,” Mouratoglou told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

“For a player to be out of competition is extremely difficult. So the US Open will be a first opportunity to win one. There’ll be a lot of restrictions and I have to speak with her to see if she will be able to accept and manage those expectations.”

Williams won her last Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017 and has lost in four successive finals at majors.


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