Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the upcoming US Open due to coronavirus concerns.
The outspoken sportsman made the announcement on Sunday, citing health and safety issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement comes as world No.1 Ashleigh Barty announced her withdrawal this past week.
"Dear Tennis, I will not be playing this year at the US Open. It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sport's greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium," he said.
"But I'm sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of Americans that have lost their lives, for all of you. It's my decision."
Dear Tennis,— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) August 1, 2020
I will not be playing this year at the US Open.
It hurts me at my core…But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives, for all of you. #SincerelyYours, @NickKyrgios pic.twitter.com/7EecHNU82l
More than 150,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, with nearly five million confirmed infections since the beginning of the pandemic.
Kyrgios said he had no problem with the US Tennis Association (USTA) proceeding with its plans to hold the tournament from August 31 to September 13, or with players electing to compete in the year's first slam. However, he said players need to act in the best interests of each other by working together during the global health crisis.
The announcement comes just months after the 25-year-old publicly criticised Novak Djokovic, who organised the ill-fated Adria Tour in June which resulted in the world no. 1 player being among four players to test positive for COVID-19, including Alexander "Sascha" Zverev.
"Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the 'exhibition' speedy recovery fellas, but that's what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE," Kyrgios wrote on Twitter in June.
🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️🤦🏽♂️ Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the ‘exhibition’ speedy recovery fellas, but that’s what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE. https://t.co/SUdxfijkbK— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 22, 2020