Kerber, a three-time Grand Slam champion currently ranked 23rd in the world, had not travelled to New York to enter the Western and Southern Open, which is being held away from Cincinnati this summer following the USTA’s decision to create a ‘bubble’ for that and the US Open. Her absence suggested that she would become another high profile withdrawal from the tournament, though confirmed on Twitter today that she would be playing.
“I can’t wait to get back on court and compete,” said Kerber. “This is why me and my team have decided to take on the challenge and fly to NYC in a few days.” The US Open will be the German’s first tournament back working with coach Torben Beltz, who she announced she was pairing up with once again last month.
The news that Kerber will play is undoubtedly a huge boost for the USTA following several withdrawals from both events in New York due to Covid-19 fears, with the women’s draw particularly ravaged by withdrawals. Six of the top ten, including world number one Ashleigh Barty and world number two Simona Halep, have pulled out with over a quarter of the world’s top 40 choosing to skip the event. Former Grand Slam champions and world number ones Garbine Muguruza and Kim Clijsters are also now doubts having withdrawn from the Western and Southern Open due to injury.