Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the US Open because of coronavirus concerns in a huge blow to the New York grand slam.
The outspoken Australian tennis star on Sunday cited health and safety issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic as he joined world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in opting out of the Flushing Meadows major.
“I will not be playing this year at the US Open,” Kyrgios said.
“It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans that have lost their lives, for all of you. It’s my decision.”
An outspoken critic of fellow tennis professionals who have flouted COVID-19 health advice during the global health crisis, Kyrgios said he had no problem with the USTA proceeding with its plans to hold the tournament from August 31 to September 13 or with players electing to compete in the year’s first slam.
He called on all players to act in the interests of each other and to work together during the global health crisis, while taking another no-so-subtle dig at Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
The ill-fated Adria Tour in June organised by the world No.1 Serb resulted in Djokovic being among four players to test positive for COVID-19.
“Let’s take a breath here and remember what’s important, which is health and safety as a community,” Kyrgios said.
“We can rebuild our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost.
“I’ve got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open, and if players want to go that’s up to them.
“So long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely … You can’t be dancing on tables, money grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition.
“That’s just so selfish. Act responsibly.”
On Thursday, Barty said she did not feel comfortable about travelling during the coronavirus pandemic as she pulled the pin on the US slam.
The Queenslander will decide in the coming weeks whether to defend her French Open title.