World No1 Ashleigh Barty pulls out of US Open over coronavirus fears and admits 'I don't feel comfortable'

TENNIS world No1 Ashleigh Barty will not appear in this year's US Open due to coronavirus fears.

Starting August 31, the New York tournament is the first major event to take place in the sport since the pandemic began.

A variety of testing and bubble protocols are being put in place for the event, which will be played behind closed doors.

But Australian star Barty, 24, has admitted she does not feel comfortable taking place in the US Open or its warm-up events.

She said in a statement: "My team and I have decided that we won't be travelling to the US, and [the] Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year.

"I love both events so it was a difficult decision 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.

"I wish the USTA all the best for the tournaments and I look forward to being back in the US next year.

"I will make my decision on the French Open and the surrounding WTA European tournaments in the coming weeks."

Andy Murray and Jo Konta are expecting to enter the tournament with Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal heading Stateside for the Southern and Western Open before making a decision on next month's US Open.

Women's stars Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu, who won last year's tournament, have not signed up for the warm-up even though it was moved to New York to aid safety concerns.

The East Coast city has been among those worst-hit by coronavirus although numbers have steadily fallen in recent months.

Lockdown measures are being slowly eased with 715 positive tests for the virus across the state on Tuesday.

Tennis bosses hope a successful US Open will allow them to stage the French Open in late September, with Wimbledon cancelled in 2020.

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