U.S. Open Continues To Lose Stars

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the WTA’s No. 32-ranked player, withdrew from the U.S. Open

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the WTA’s No. 32-ranked player, withdrew from the U.S. Open. Photo by: Tatiana (Wikimedia).

Another day, another participant pulling out of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship.

The latest to send their regrets that they won’t be showing up at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the first leg of the sport’s Grand Slam from Aug. 31st-Sept. 13th is Svetlana Kuznetsova. She was the 2004 U.S. Open women’s singles champion but posted her withdrawal from the tournament on social media.

“Due to an unfavorable situation caused by coronavirus, and therefore the inability (to) get together all my team, I made a difficult decision to refuse to participate in Cincinnati and the US Open,” Kuznetsova posted.

“I feel very sad, because I have been waiting for these tournaments so much, but the pandemic changes all plans.

“I hope the situation will be more positive by the next tournaments.”

Withdrawals Mounting

Barbora Strycova, the WTA’s No. 2 doubles player, is out of the U.S. Open

Barbora Strycova, the WTA’s No. 2 doubles player, is out of the U.S. Open. Photo by: Tatiana (Wikimedia).

Kuznetsova’s departure brings to nine the number of the world’s top-40 WTA players who are opting to give the U.S. Open a pass. On the same day as her announcement, WTA No. 2-ranked doubles player Barbora Strycova also confirmed that she would not be attending the tournament at Flushing Meadows due to concerns regarding travel during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ranked Nos. 31 and 32 in WTA singles competition, Strycova and Kuznetsova would have both been seeded at this year’s US Open. Strycova was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2019.

The list of confirmed players who’ve sent their regrets includes world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, world No. 5 Elena Svitolina and Kiki Bertens, the seventh-ranked player in the WTA.

Former Australian Open champion Sam Stosur also sent her regrets. World No. 2 Simona Halep, a champion at both Wimbledon (2019) and the French Open (2018) remains uncertain as to whether she will be playing in the U.S. Open.

“The US Open? I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Halep recently told reporters in Prague. “The situation is complicated and I am not yet 100% sure of what I will do.”

If she does play, Halep figures to be the top seed in the women’s draw and the betting favorite to win the tournament title.

Men Also Bowing Out

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the defending U.S. Open men’s singles champ, is among the top men’s players who have decided to give the U.S. Open a pass.

The situation is as it is, my spirit was not high enough to travel to New York and compete,” Nadal said in a statement. “If I am going to compete, all my senses have to be focused on competition to perform at my best, and it would have been difficult to achieve that.”

Nadal also admitted that he wants to maintain his focus on winning next month’s French Open and maintaining his success streak on clay courts. He didn’t feel at his age and with his body’s many ailments that going directly from a hard court competition to clay would be conducive to solid play from him at Roland Garros.

Former U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2016, world No. 9 Gael Monfils, ATP No. 11 player Fabio Fognini, Nick Kyrgios and Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open winner, have also made the decision not to participate in the tournament.

Double knee surgery will keep five-time U.S. Open champ Roger Federer from participating this year.

An Odds Situation

The many withdrawals are certainly impacting the U.S. Open betting lines and creating havoc in this betting market on the eve of the tournament.

In fact, online sports betting sites have pulled their U.S. Open future books from display, awaiting to see which other players intend to withdraw from the event.

Qualifying Canceled

Normally, a qualifying event would be held immediately prior to the U.S. Open to complete the field. That won’t be happening this year.

Instead, the 128-player fields on both the men’s and women’s side will see 120 places determined by world rankings. The remaining eight spots will be given out via wild cards.

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