Kyrgios, Barty first to withdraw from this year’s US Open

Nick Kyrgios, via a Twitter video, and Ashleigh Barty, via a press announcement, disclosed they are withdrawing from the US Open due to health concerns.

This past Wednesday, World #1 Ashleigh Barty decided to withdraw from the US Open. Concerned with her and her team’s health amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, she reluctantly is withdrawing from the tournament and is undecided on whether or not to defend her 2019 French Open crown. This comes while the WTA deals with other problems related to restarting their tour.

On Saturday, clocking in at just under two minutes, Kyrgios released a Twitter video via Uninterrupted to announce his decision to withdraw from the upcoming US Open. Primarily citing his personal health and the health of those around him, from fellow players to his native Australians, Kyrgios’ decision is not a huge surprise to those who have followed him during the pandemic.

The last few months have seen Kyrgios extremely active on Twitter, repeatedly discussing his takes on the pandemic and calling out other players and coaches directly on the platform for participation in unsafe activities, such as the Adria Tour and going out to night clubs. From Novak Djokovic to Borna Coric, to Alexander Zverev and more, Kyrgios has made sure his opinions on the severity of the virus and his disappointment in his peers’ actions have been heard.

Kyrgios’ outspokenness on issues of health and safety from Covid-19 has attracted both supporters and detractors. Some, including players, see his recent maturity as ironic and too little too late given his history of tanking and poor comments made while on the ATP Tour. On the other hand, others are excited by his newfound leadership and rational response to a deadly virus that so many of his peers have lacked.

Decisions like these will of course negatively impact the US Open and smaller tournaments on both tours, as the tennis world is not immune from the financial fallout caused by Covid-19.

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Regardless, both Kyrgios and Barty’s decisions are their own, and it is certainly acceptable and applaudable for how each has handled it. Hopefully, for Kyrgios, his current focus and actions translate to maturity and effort on the tennis court in the future.

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