Australia’s Nick Kyrgios has ruled out playing in this year’s US Open, saying he is making his decision for “my Aussies”, and for the people who have lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Nick Kyrgios has released a video explaining his reasons for not playing at this year’s US Open
- He has previously been outspoken about the tennis world’s approach to COVID-19
- He says it is up to players if they want to play at the US Open
He becomes the second high-profile Australian tennis player to announce he will be staying away from the New York-based tournament, following this week’s statement by women’s world number one Ash Barty.
The tournament is scheduled to start on August 31 — it will be held at its usual home in Flushing Meadows, Queens but will be played without fans to limit the risk of spreading of the virus.
Kyrgios posted a video on Sunday, where he read from a statement.
“I will not be playing this year at the US Open,” he said.
“It hurts me at my core not to be out there, competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It’s my decision.”
Uncertainty remains around the tournament that is usually the last major of the year.
The tennis world has been largely shut down for months in response to the pandemic, and players have expressed concerns over safety.
While tournaments are just about to restart, there have been a number of exhibition events held — the most notorious being the ADRIA Cup, a tournament organised by world number one Novak Djokovic, held in a number of countries, but which featured poor social distancing.
Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric later tested positive. Kyrgios described the decision to go ahead with the exhibition as “boneheaded”, saying people had to stick to the protocols.
Kyrgios has also been drawn into online exchanges with Coric and former world number one Boris Becker over their approach to the virus.
“Dear tennis, let’s take a breath here and remember what’s important, which is health and safety as a community,” he said in the video.
The Canberra native said he had no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open, and that if players wanted to go, that was up to them.
“So long as everyone acts appropriately, and acts safely,” he said.
“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.
“These are the people that need their jobs back the most and fair play to them.”
Kyrgios called on players to act in each other’s best interests and work together.
“That’s just so selfish. Think of all the other people for once.