World number 29 Wang Qiang has become the second WTA player to announce her withdrawal from this year’s Western and Southern Open and US Open, with the Chinese number one citing travel restrictions and safety concerns amidst the Coronavirus pandemic as the reason for her withdrawal.
“I’m very sad that I have to make this announcement,” said Qiang in a statement on social media. "Due to travel restrictions and safety concerns, my team and I have to withdraw from Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open. It is a tough decision for me. I want to thank everyone for the extraordinary effort and hope to see you all next year in the U.S."
The Chinese also confirmed that she would be ending her partnership with coach Thomas Drouet due to current restrictions. “Thomas and I cannot team up for matches and regular training. After discussion, we have put an end to our journey by mutual agreement.”
Wang is best known for her run to the quarterfinal at the US Open last year, beating Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round, as well as for her win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open back in January. The Chinese is the second WTA player to officially withdraw from both events, following world number one Barty’s withdrawal due to the same reasons a few days ago. Barty’s compatriot Nick Kyrgios is the first ATP player to officially withdraw due to safety concerns and travel restrictions.
It is more than likely that several more players across both tours will withdraw from the Western and Southern Open and US Open before the events take place in a bubble at the USTA National Tennis Centre at Flushing Meadows. Many based outside of the US are likely to be put off by travel restrictions and quarantine rules currently in place. Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal are amongst those expected to withdraw.