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World No. 2 Halep opts to sit out US Open

World number two Simona Halep cited the “exceptional circumstances” after deciding not to play the US Open at Flushing Meadows.

Simona Halep will not play the US Open, the world No. 2 confirmed on Monday.

In a post on social media, the 28-year-old wrote: “After weighing up all the factors involved and with the exceptional circumstances in which we are living, I have decided that I will not travel to New York to play the US Open.

“I always said I would put my health at the heart of my decision and I therefore prefer to stay and train in Europe. I know the US Tennis Association and WTA have worked tirelessly to put on a safe event and I wish everyone there a successful tournament.”

The Romanian won last week’s Prague Open, beating Elise Mertens in the final 6-2, 7-5, and had won her last event before lockdown, the Dubai Tennis Championships, when she defeated Elena Rybakina 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in the final.

She had already opted not to compete at the Ladies Open Palermo in the first week of August due to the rise in coronavirus cases in her native Romania and her concerns around international air travel at that time.

And Halep said to media following her triumph in Prague that before making any final decision she needed to see whether the US Open tournament organisers were planning to make any further changes to their protocols for players and their teams.

Halep has previously been extremely cautious regarding any health issues when travelling, most notably when she decided not to play the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio due to the risk of the Zika virus in that country.

Her best result at the US Open came in 2015, when she reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta.

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