Sports

Kvitova hopes for ‘easy’ U.S. Open decision, Barty also waits

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – All-Czech Tennis Tournament – TK Sparta Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, May 28, 2020. Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova celebrates winning her final match against Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova, as play resumes, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS/David W Cerny

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Petra Kvitova is yet to make a call on participating in the U.S. Open and hopes the health situation in New York will improve to make her decision easier, the two-times Wimbledon champion told Reuters.

A number of top players, including men’s world number one Novak Djokovic and reigning men’s champion Rafa Nadal, are among those who have expressed concerns about going to Flushing Meadows.

“I would like to congratulate the U.S. Open on their hard work and vision in getting to this point and for putting player safety at the centre of their plans,” Kvitova said via e-mail.

“Hopefully the COVID-19 numbers and conditions around travel restrictions continue to improve in order to make the decision to play an easy one.”

World number two Simona Halep does not currently plan to play the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 event but 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has confirmed she will participate.

Organisers also found support from 2019 women’s champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who said she plans to make the most of the opportunity to return to the courts.

New York will also host the Western & Southern Open from Aug. 22-28 after it was moved from Ohio as part of efforts to contain the virus, and organisers said they would be flexible with the player confirmation dates.

“For the U.S. Open we know … athletes will most likely decide two to three weeks before,” tournament director Stacey Allaster told reporters in a video conference on Wednesday.

“We are ready. The plan is ready. If the athletes are ready, we’ll be ready for them to come to New York, to train and compete in both events … everything definitely is flexible.”

Top-ranked women’s player, Ash Barty, plans to monitor the situation before making a decision.

“My team and I probably won’t make a decision on the U.S. events until much closer to the time,” Barty told Australian Associated Press. “There are still a lot of questions we need answered before making our decision.

“As I’ve said, my health and the health of my team is the priority for me.”

The men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA have also issued revised calendars for the resumption of professional tennis from August.

Australian Nick Kyrgios, who has voiced his concerns about resuming the sport too soon, hit out at ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi on Twitter.

“Cheers mate, you’ve really looked after the players during this time. Seriously, how about you have a collaborative effort with us, potato,” he said.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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