Two of the most recognizable Australian tennis stars have decided not to travel to New York City and compete in the 2020 U.S. Open because of coronavirus. Nick Kyrgios made the announcement on Saturday, while Ashleigh Barty made her announcement on Thursday.
Kyrgios is currently seeded 40th in the world, and is a six-time winner on the ATP Tour. His championship titles are the 2016 Open 13 in Marseille, France, the 2016 Atlanta Open, the 2016 Japan Open in Tokyo, the 2018 Brisbane International, the 2019 Mexican Open, and the 2019 Washington Open.
For the most part in Kyrgios’s career, criticism toward him was justified. At times you never knew what would come out of his mouth, and other times he just seemed completely disinterested in tennis. However, since the coronavirus outbreak, Kyrgios has shown and exemplified unprecedented leadership. It was Kyrgios who had no problem in criticizing Novak Djokovic for his complete and inexplicable carelessness during the tennis exhibitions in Serbia and Croatia. Kyrgios was extremely justified in his displeasure, which led to positive cases for Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, Victor Troicki, Goran Ivanisevic (Djokovic’s coach), and Djokovic’s wife Jelena. In addition to holding the events with spectators, ball boys and girls were participants without masks, and players were seen partying at a club.
A major reason why Kyrgios and Barty are skipping the U.S. Open is because Australia is taking coronavirus significantly more seriously than the United States. Australia is limiting flights outside the country and only allowing them for exceptional circumstances. Even though Kyrgios and Barty are elite tennis players, they decided against applying for special status.
It will now be interesting to see if Barty, who is ranked number one in the world in women’s tennis, will defend her title at Roland Garros in late September. If she does not participate at the French Open, she could lose a significant number of points when it comes to the WTA rankings.