Former US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and doubles world number two Barbora Strycova have become the latest players to withdraw from this year’s event at Flushing Meadows due to concerns around travel in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kuznetsova, who won the title at the tournament in 2004 and was also the runner-up three years later, announced on Instagram that she would not be playing in New York this summer. “I feel very sad,” the former world number two commented, citing the “unfavorable situation” surrounding coronavirus and the inability to get all her coaching team together as the reason for her withdrawal.
Strycova has not yet made a statement about her withdrawal from the tournament, though yesterday did discuss in an interview with the WTA about how the pandemic had disrupted her retirement plans. “2020 was supposed to be my last year and the Olympics would be the cherry on the cake and everything changed,” said the Czech in the interview. Strycova was originally planning to retire after the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have now been pushed back to next summer. She won her maiden Grand Slam title alongside Hsieh Su-Wei in the women’s doubles at Wimbledon last year.
Ranked 31st and 32nd respectively, Strycova and Kuznetsova would have both been seeded at the US Open this year. Their withdrawals now mean that nine top-40 players on the WTA Tour have withdrawn from the event at the USTA National Tennis Centre as well as the rescheduled Western and Southern Open the week prior, with more withdrawals likely. Simona Halep, who will be playing doubles alongside Strycova this week in Prague, has previously expressed doubts about playing and it would not be a surprise to anyone if she was to withdraw from the event.
The tournament is set to begin in three weeks on August 31st.