NEW YORK, NY, USA - Top 10 players Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens have both withdrawn from the US Open today, citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic.
World No.5 Svitolina, a semifinalist in Flushing Meadows last year and the 2018 WTA Finals champion, posted on social media: "Considering all the aspects, I have decided to not play the US Open 2020. I want to thank the USTA, organizers and WTA for giving the players a chance to play and the fans a chance to watch this great event. I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to US without putting my team and myself at high risk."
World No.7 Bertens, a 2016 Roland Garros semifinalist whose career-best US Open showings have been third-round appearances in 2018 and 2019, also cited quarantine restrictions in her native Netherlands as a reason for pulling out, posting: "After long consideration I have decided not to go to the States for Cincinnati and the US Open. The situation around COVID-19 is still that worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority. Our prime minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the states. Of course we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay court tournaments in Rome and Paris."
Both Svitolina and Bertens were WTA champions this year prior to the COVID-19 pause in the tour, with the latter successfully defending her St. Petersburg title in February and Svitolina winning the last official match of the pre-coronavirus season to lift the Monterrey trophy. Ukraine's Svitolina also won July's Bett1 Aces exhibition event in Berlin.
The US Open is due to begin on 31 August, and its field includes defending champion Bianca Andreescu, former champions Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, and multiple Grand Slam winners Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber, as well as this year's only Grand Slam titlist to date, Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin.