Three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber has sounded a warning about the virus-threatened US Open, with the German doubting that many European players are keen to cross the Atlantic for the event.
The former No. 1 got in some brief 2020 experience on grass at the weekend at an exhibition and court dedication in Bad Homburg.north of Frankfurt.
“It was a lot of fun,” the 32-year-old told ZDF television of the German outing.
But heading to the US Open in the worldwide virus danger zone of the US is looking more and more out of bounds for many competitors as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies in parts of the US.
“Safety comes first. I have the responsibility for myself and my team,” Kerber said of the event which is programmed to start as per normal on August 31 inside a fan-and-media-free player bubble at a deserted National Tennis Centre.
“(If we had to go today), no one would get on the plane to fly to New York.”
The German said that she would direct her energies towards Roland Garros, which rescheduled itself months ago from spring to the current September 27 start.
“I’m still missing Paris in my trophy collection,” she said: “That’s why I’ll be preparing for clay this year as best I can.”
Kerber, who won the US title in 2016, joins a cast of top contenders uncertain about making the trip across the Atlantic. Others in doubt: the two top-ranked WTA women, Ash Barty and Simona Halep plus ATP aces Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Roger Federer is out until 2021 with his knee rahab which No. 3 Dominic Thiem who has played all over Europe this summer in exhibitions has yet to make a commitment.
The only player seemingly ready to risk the tournament are either Americans or some of the lesser US-based Europeans.
Reports at the weekend indicated that the ATP had sert of a Zoom call with players for Monday in hopes of convincing top names to play the Open.
Tour tennis was shut down in March, with a resumption scheduled in early August for the WTA and at mid-month in Washington, D.C, for the ATP.