July 31, 2020 / 4:23 AM / 7 days ago

Tennis: Murray predicts more U.S. Open withdrawals after Barty

Tennis - Davis Cup Finals - Quarter-Final - Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain - November 22, 2019 Britain's Andy Murray reacts during the match between Kyle Edmund and Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber REUTERS/Sergio Perez/Files

(Reuters) - Britain’s Andy Murray expects some of the top male players to follow women’s world number one Ash Barty in skipping next month’s U.S. Open in New York due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian Barty said on Thursday she was not comfortable travelling to the United States amid the pandemic for the hardcourt Grand Slam, which begins on Aug. 31.

“I have heard some of the top male players aren’t going to play. I would expect that would be the case,” former world number one Murray told British media.

“It’s everyone’s personal decision. If they don’t feel safe, and don’t feel comfortable, travelling and going there and putting themselves and their team at an increased risk, then it’s completely understandable.”

Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams have all entered the Aug. 20-28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which was relocated from Cincinnati this year because of COVID-19 and will serve as a tune-up for the U.S. Open.

Both tournaments will be played without fans in attendance with organisers United States Tennis Association planning to set up a strict bio-security ‘bubble’ to minimize the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“All of the players will have some reservations and it’s whether or not you feel comfortable taking that risk,” Murray said at the Battle Of The Brits Team Tennis event.

“Like I said the other day, my feeling is once we are inside that bubble they created, we will be okay. It’s more the international travel, and getting there which I will be a bit concerned about it.”

Murray has previously said he was still “apprehensive” about travelling to New York but he is mentally preparing for the Grand Slam.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford

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