Alexei Popyrin is the latest Australian to pull out of the US Open due to concerns about coronavirus, joining fellow Aussies Ashleigh Barty and Nick Kyrgios on the sidelines for this major.
I know it's very strict, it's a little bit stressful in my opinion Simona Halep
Popyrin reached the third round of this year’s Australian Open following a successful 2019 resulting in him breaking into the top 100 for the first time.
Popyrin’s withdrawal means 2012 US champion Andy Murray, now moves into the main draw as a direct entry, relinquishing his wildcard to American Mitchell Krueger, ranked 195.
Meanwhile Simona Halep has yet to reveal whether she will be playing but promises to make a decision once the Prague Open, in which she is playing this week, is completed.
“I will decide after this tournament for sure,” Halep told Reuters, adding that the conditions are “tough” in the US.
“I need to get a feeling; I need to see what changes they (the US Open organisers) are gonna make with travelling and stuff.
“And then I will be able to decide, take the final decision.”
Concerns remain whether players would face mandatory quarantine if they travel to Europe from the US for the claycourt events in September leading to the French Open.
The USTA are creating a bio-secure ‘bubble’ in New York with tough protocols to hold the tournament from Aug 31 without spectators, including asking players to sign a form absolving the organisers from any liability if they do contract the virus.
“I know it’s very strict, it’s a little bit stressful in my opinion,” Halep added.
“But they need those rules for the security, the health is most important, they have to take care of everyone. It’s tough for everybody to travel these days. But everyone can take their own decision and they know their priority.
“My priority is my health; the mental part and I don’t want to stress myself for anything. My final decision, when I take it, will be based on these.
“But I cannot decide now. I always decide closer to the tournaments, seeing the conditions and the rules,” she added.