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Two more top-10 players pull out of U.S. Open tennis due to coronavirus concerns

Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens follow the earlier lead of No. 1 Ash Barty on the women's side. They join defending men's champ Rafael Nadal in skipping the New York tourney.
No. 5-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was a semifinalist at the U.S. Open in 2019.
No. 5-ranked Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was a semifinalist at the U.S. Open in 2019. [ Associated Press ]
Published Aug. 7, 2020

NEW YORK — Two more top-10 women, Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens, will not play the U.S. Open, joining No. 1-ranked Ash Barty in skipping the Grand Slam tennis tournament during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fifth-ranked Svitolina, a Ukrainian who was a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows a year ago, posted Friday on social media that she doesn’t “feel comfortable to travel to US without putting my team and myself at high risk.”

No. 7 Bertens, who is Dutch, wrote on Instagram that one of her concerns is the need to be quarantined upon returning to Europe after the U.S. Open, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 and will not have any spectators in New York.

The French Open — where Bertens reached the semifinals in 2016 — is scheduled to begin Sept. 27. She also wants to play on the claycourt tournament in Rome before heading to Paris.

“The situation around COVID-19 is still that worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority,” Bertens wrote.

Defending men’s champion and No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal also has said he won’t play at the U.S. Open, citing concerns about traveling during the pandemic. Also out of the field: 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer, who is sitting out the rest of the season after two operations on his right knee.

Stan Wawrinka, Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils are among other men not going to New York.

The professional tennis tours went on hiatus in March because of the pandemic. The women’s circuit returned to action this week in Palermo, Italy; the men are scheduled to begin play later this month.

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