Romanian Wimbledon champion Simona Halep announced on Monday that she will miss the US Open as she prioritizes her health and prefers to stay in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Halep, currently the world number two, lifted the Prague Open title on Sunday.
“After weighing all the factors involved and given the exceptional circumstances that we are experiencing, I have decided that I will not travel to New York to play at @usopen,” wrote Halep on his Twitter account. “I have always said that I would put my health at the center of my decision and that is why I prefer to stay and train in Europe.”
Six of the eight women who top the WTA rankings will not participate in New York. Number one Ash Barty and defending champion Bianca Andreescu, sixth in the world, also declined to compete in the tournament, which is scheduled to kick off at Flushing Meadows on Aug. 31.
Among other tennis players who have decided not to attend are the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (fifth in the world ranking), the Dutch Kiki Bertens (seventh) and the Swiss Belinda Bencic (eight).
“I know that @usta (referring to the United States Tennis Association) and @WTA have worked tirelessly to put together a safe event and I wish you all a successful tournament,” added Halep.
Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, also announced that he will not play in the US Open, although current number one Novak Djokovic has stated that he will. Swiss Roger Federer is out for the rest of the season after two right knee surgeries.
Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 US Open champion, has ruled out participation, as have Gael Monfils and Nick Kyrgios.