Pavlyuchenkova opts out of US Open due to COVID-19 'insecurity'

NEW YORK: Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova said on Wednesday that she will not travel to New York to take part in the US Open later this month as organisers could not guarantee her health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Open is set to be played from Aug. 31-Sept. 12 even as the country leads the world with over 4.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 157,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

Pavlyuchenkova, 29, joins the likes of men's defending champion Rafa Nadal and women's world number one Ash Barty who pulled out of the Grand Slam out of fear of contracting the novel coronavirus during their stay in the country.

"I've been thinking a lot and decided not to play (the) US Open this year," Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 30 in the world, said on Instagram. "It wasn't easy because I hadn't missed any Grand Slam in my entire career. Tennis is almost everything for me.

"The main reason is insecurity, (the) US Open doesn't provide any guarantees. I don't feel comfortable to travel to USA in such circumstances.

"From this moment, every player is on his own. My team and I have decided it would be for the best not to participate."

Although Barty has pulled out, nine of the women's top 10 were named in the women's field while world number one Novak Djokovic headlines the men's field after organisers released the entry list on Tuesday.

While the men's ATP Tour is yet to resume since it was suspended in March, the women's WTA Tour returned this week with a tournament at Palermo where strict guidelines are in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Players are also scheduled to play at the Aug. 20-28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which serves as a warm-up event for the US Open.