Nick Kyrgios again criticized plans by the United States Tennis Association to proceed with this year’s U.S. Open, calling it “selfish” to hold the tournament as scheduled in late August amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“People that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead,” Kyrgios wrote on his Twitter account, adding a face-palm emoji. “I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return.”
The USTA confirmed to ESPN on Monday that the U.S. Open is set to begin on Aug. 31 and continue through Sept. 13 with COVID-19 testing in place and restrictions placed on the activities of players while participating in the tournament. The plan, which also shifts the annual Cincinnati Masters to New York City as part of a two-tournament “bubble,” has been embraced by the ATP and WTA. As with other sports leagues, which are grappling with how to hold live events this summer and fall, it is unlikely that spectators will allowed to attend matches.
Kyrgios, a talented yet often volatile Australian who ranks No. 40 in the world rankings, made similar remarks on June 11, saying on Twitter that the ATP was “selfish” in planning the U.S. Open with “everything going on at the moment.”
“Obviously Covid, but also with the riots,” Kyrgios tweeted, referencing protests that have occurred nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, “together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion.”
If the most vocal in his repeated critiques of the USTA, Kyrgios is not the only player to raise concerns over holding the marquee event given New York City’s place among the global epicenters of COVID-19. The city has seen an overall decline in cases since hitting a high of 8,021 new cases on April 15, with 384 documented cases on Monday.
Fellow Australian Ash Barty, the No. 1 women’s player in the world, told The Associated Press on Monday in an email that “I understand the tournaments are eager to run but keeping everyone safe has to be the priority.”
Men’s No. 1 Novak Djokovic told a Serbian television station that many players “were quite negative” about playing the U.S. Open in August. Rafael Nadal, No. 2, called it “not an ideal situation.” Djokovic and Nadal have combined to win the past eight men’s major championships.