Ashleigh Barty, currently the no. 1 ranked women's tennis player in the world, announced that she will not participate in the U.S. Open next month due to safety concerns. The 24-year-old Australian made the announcement, explaining that she felt uncomfortable about traveling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
"My team and I have decided that we won't be traveling to Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year," Barty said, via the Australian Associated Press. "I love both events, so it was a difficult decision but there are still significant risks involved due to COVID-19 and I don't feel comfortable putting my team and I in that position."
The U.S. Open is scheduled to start on Aug. 31 in New York and, if all goes according to plan, will conclude on Sept. 13. While Barty is the highest-profile player to officially opt out so far, she is hardly the only big name to express skepticism. Rafael Nadal, who previously suggested canceling all tennis events until next year, said he was unsure if he would participate due to "unrealistic scheduling."
While Barty officially ruled herself out for the U.S. Open, she said she was still considering playing in the French Open, which is scheduled to start in late September. It is, of course, worth noting that while the United States continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, France has done a much better job of flattening its curve.
"I will make my decision on the French Open and the surrounding WTA European tournaments in the coming weeks."