The US Open has its first high-profile male dropout.
Nick Kyrgios released a video via Uninterrupted on Saturday that he would not play in this month’s tournament, citing the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The famously outspoken Australian, currently ranked 40th in the world, also took the opportunity to take a group of unnamed players to task for “selfish” conduct, imploring them to “think of the other people for once.”
Nick Kyrgios announces he’s out of US Open
A full transcript of Kyrgios’ letter:
Let’s take a breath here and remember what’s important, which is health and safety as a community. We can rebuild our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost. I’ve got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open and if players want to go, that’s up to them so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely.
No one wants people to keep their jobs more than me. I’m speaking for the guy who works in the restaurant, the cleaners, the locker room attendants. There are the people that need their jobs back the most and fair play to them. But tennis players, you have to act in the interest of each other and work together.
You can’t be dancing on tables, money grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition. That’s just so selfish. Think of the other people for once. That’s what this virus is about. It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly. To those players that have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk and I have no problem with that.
I will not be playing this year at the US Open. It hurts me at my core not to be out there competing in one of the sports’ greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium. But I’m sitting out for the people, for my Aussies, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives, for all of you.
It’s my decision like it or not. And those are my reasons.
It’s not hard to speculate which players Kyrgios might be talking about in his letter. The Australian posted another video in June lambasting the seventh-ranked Alexander Zverev after the German was seen partying on video only days after possible exposure to the coronavirus at the Adria Tour.
Zverev had pledged to self-isolate after several players, including Novak Djokovic and Gregor Dimitrov, tested positive for the virus after playing the controversial exhibition tournament with fans in attendance.
Kyrgios wasn’t amused:
I see more controversial things happening all over the world, but one that stuck out for me was seeing Sascha Zverev, again man, again. Again. How selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?
If you have the audacity to f---ing put out a tweet that you made your management write on your behalf saying you're going to self-isolate for 14 days, and apologizing to the f---ing general public for putting their health at risk, at least have the audacity to stay inside for 14 days. My god. Have your girlfriend with you for f---ing 14 days.
Jesus man, this tennis world is p---ing me off, seriously. How selfish can you all get?
Women’s No. 1 also out of US Open
The first notable player to pull out of the US Open was top-ranked women’s single player Ashleigh Barty, who announced she wouldn’t play in the event due to the risks of COVID-19 earlier this week. She also dropped out of the Western & Southern Open, scheduled a week earlier in the same New York City location.
“I love both events so it was a difficult decision,” Barty said in a statement sent to Australian media outlets on Thursday. “But there are still significant risks involved due to Covid-19, and I don’t feel comfortable putting my team and I in that position.”
Barty and Kyrgios likely won’t be the only players in their draw to pull out.
Andy Murray told reporters he heard a number of high-profile male players don’t plan to play, via Sky Sports:
"I think we will see it quite a bit. I have heard some of the top male players aren't going to play. I would expect that would be the case," said the former world No 1.
"All of the players will have some reservations and it's whether or not you feel comfortable taking that risk. Like I said the other day, my feeling is once we are inside that bubble they created, we will be okay. It's more the international travel, and getting there which I will be a bit concerned about it."
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