'A lot of questions': Ash Barty flags stunning US Open boycott

Ashleigh Barty in action at the Australian Open in January. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Ash Barty continues to flag the very real possibility that she won’t play the US Open amid fears about the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Barty won't be rushed into committing to the US Open as the world's best tennis players remain divided over whether or not the New York grand slam should go ahead as scheduled in 2020.

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The USTA's announcement on Wednesday that the Open will run from August 31 to September 13, as initially planned but without fans, has caused a stir across the sport with Nick Kyrgios among those most vocally opposed.

Women's world No.2 Simona Halep says at this stage she's not planning to contest the Open or Citi Open with the health protocols put in place by organisers, while the top-ranked Barty will delay a call until possibly even the last minute.

“My team and I probably won't make a decision on the US events until much closer to the time,” Barty told AAP on Thursday.

“There are still a lot of questions we need answered before making our decision.

“As I've said, my health and the health of my team is the priority for me.”

Romanian Halep, coached by Australian Darren Cahill, said: “Given the conditions outlined in the US Open announcement, as of today I do not currently plan to play in NYC.”

“I would like to underline that my decision is not set in stone.”

Nick Kyrgios lashes out at ATP boss

After repeatedly branding moves to push ahead with the major at the same Flushing Meadows site that served as an emergency hospital to fight coronavirus as “selfish”, Kyrgios on Thursday continued his attack on officials.

Kyrgios condemned ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi for tweeting “Save the date Friday, August 14” following the men's governing body's announcement that the tour will resume then with the Citi Open in New York, an event normally staged in Cincinnati.

“Cheers mate, you've really looked after the players during this time. Seriously ??????? fk me, how about you have a collaborative effort with us, potato,” Kyrgios posted.

Fellow Australian John Millman said he too thought the US Open “probably shouldn't go ahead - but money talks”.

“The USTA's in a bit of debt, I think. They've done a lot of refurbishments lately, they've got a massive new tennis centre in Orlando, I think the ATP's desperate to get some matches on too,” Millman said on a podcast with Australian golfer Matthew Guyatt.

“The players are quite divided on it - some players feel comfortable going there, others probably don't.

“I'm probably in that category that's erring on the side of caution after I've seen just how good Australia's done with the COVID (crisis) and probably, with all due respect, how poorly a place like the United States has done.

“So it's a really tricky situation.”

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in action during the 2018 US Open final. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Djokovic changes tune, Serena happy to play

After previously flagging the possibility that he too could boycott, World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he is excited by the prospect of playing at the US Open.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still peaking in some regions of the world, Djokovic is concerned that many players will not be able to travel even if they wanted to.

“Hopefully every single player who is participating, chosen by ranking and who deserves their place at the US Open, will have an equal opportunity to travel there and compete as everybody else," Djokovic told Eurosport's Tennis Legends podcast on Thursday.

“This is very important because this is the foundation of the ATP and the foundation of international tennis.”

Defending champion Rafael Nadal said he would be unlikely to travel there in the current circumstances.

However Serena Williams allayed some fears when she confirmed she will play.

In a video message, Williams said she misses the excitement of competition.

“Ultimately, I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the US Open 2020,” the seven-times champion said.

“I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everyone is safe.”

with Yahoo Sports Staff