'Very sad': US Open hit by more high-profile player withdrawals

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Barbora Strycova, pictured here in action on the WTA tour.
Svetlana Kuznetsova and Barbora Strycova will not play the US Open. Image: Getty

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Barbora Strycova and Wang Xiyu have joined a growing list of players to withdraw from the US Open over health concerns.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, wrote on Instagram on Monday that she was pulling out of the New York grand slam and preceding tournament.

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The Western & Southern Open starts on August 22; the US Open starts August 31.

Also withdrawing from the US Open on Monday were World No.31 Strycova of the Czech Republic, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2019, and No.108 Wang Xiyu of China.

“I feel very sad, because I have been (waiting) for these tournaments so much, but the pandemic changes all plans,” Kuznetsova wrote.

The 35-year-old Russian, who also won the 2009 French Open, has been ranked as high as No.2 in singles.

She is currently No.32, which would have put her in line to be seeded at Flushing Meadows.

Three of the top seven women in the rankings, including World No.1 Ash Barty, have pulled out of the US Open.

Defending men's champion Rafael Nadal and others such as Stan Wawrinka and Nick Kyrgios have also chosen not to play.

Serena Williams reaffirms commitment to play

On Saturday Serena Williams said she is pressing ahead with plans to play in the US Open despite a wave of player withdrawals.

The 23-time Slam winner returns to tennis next week at the inaugural Top Seed Open WTA event in Lexington, Kentucky, relaunching her season after a six-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Williams, who was one of the first players to commit to the US Open despite the pandemic, said her plans remain unchanged, adding that she was tentatively planning to go to Europe for the rescheduled French Open.

“I see myself doing it all if it happens,” Williams said when asked about her schedule during a virtual press conference on Saturday.

“But I am not planning for the future, as tournaments got cancelled I was just like, 'Let me just work on today and see what happens.’”

Serena Williams, pictured here in action at the 2020 Australian Open.
Serena Williams in action at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

The former World No.1 said she has spent the past six months at her home in Florida, sheltering from the threat of the coronavirus.

Williams has a history of pulmonary embolisms which have restricted her lung capacity, a factor which she said had prompted her to be a “little bit of a recluse” this year.

“I started social distancing in early March,” she said.

“I don't have full lung capacity so I'm not sure what would happen to me.

“I am sure I would be okay but I don't want to find out. I have like 50 masks that I travel with, I don't ever want to be without one.

“With health concerns I am super careful with what I have been doing and everyone in the Serena bubble is really protected.

“It is cool to play tennis, but this is my life and my health, so I have been a little bit neurotic but that is how I have to be right now.”

with agencies