Bencic joins growing list of US Open absentees as Bartoli says event is devalued

The list of players not now playing at this year’s US Open is growing with the 23-year-old Belinda Bencic, the world number 8, the latest high profile player to announce she is unwilling to travel to New York.

You know it is just a regular tournament that you won, and you are happy that you won and you are happy that you have been able to get through all the difficulties and you navigated through all of this, but you can’t really call it a Grand Slam when there is that many people not showing up at all Marion Bartoli

The number of absentees, which also include Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and Julia Gorges of Germany, has led many to believe that the winner of this year’s American leg of the majors, will be handed a devalued title not really meriting the status of a grand slam.

That view was voiced by former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli speaking on the Match Points show with tennis journalists Ben Rothenburg and Josh Cohen.

“I think the player himself or herself who will win the US Open under these circumstances will know that they didn’t really win the US Open.

“You can’t really say that you won a Grand Slam when you have 20 out of the top 32 players not coming, for example, if that is happening.

“You know it is just a regular tournament that you won, and you are happy that you won and you are happy that you have been able to get through all the difficulties and you navigated through all of this, but you can’t really call it a Grand Slam when there is that many people not showing up at all”.

Speaking on the same show, Noah Rubin, supported Bartoli’s point by declaring that an asterisk should be attached to the winners of this year’s event.

“It’s tough, this is going to be one of those times where there could be an asterisk right next to the name, because without the top guys playing, maybe we lose 20 or 25 of the top 50 guys, it’s going to be tough to argue, will this be the same level of a Grand Slam?”

The argument is well made, especially as more names could be joining the list including the women’s world number two Simona Halep who is due to announce her decision this weekend following the Prague Open in which she is competing.

However, it should be remembered that Jan Kodes won Wimbledon in 1973 when the ATP boycotted The Championships with 13 of the top 16 players failing to turn up. In fact the total who answered the boycott call in support of Nicola Pilic was around the 80 mark, but no asterisk is attached to his name on the Rolls of Honour!

Meanwhile Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and Germany’s Alexander Zverev have confirmed that they will be making an appearance at Flushing Meadows.


Belinda Bencic will rejoin the tour in Rome

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)




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