Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has hit out at the organisers of the US Open tournament, branding them “selfish” for their reported plans to stage the event in its usual slot on the calendar this year.
The tournament was originally scheduled to take place August 31 and September 13.
News reports earlier this week suggested that the organisers were planning to stage the tournament in its usual slot without spectators.
This is despite the number of Covd-19 cases still numbering in the hundreds every day in New York City, where the event is usually staged.
Kyrgios was also annoyed that he would have to quarantine for a fortnight after he returned home to Australia from playing in the tournament.
“People that live in the US of course are pushing [for] the Open to go ahead,” he tweeted.
“‘Selfish.’ I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for two weeks on my return.”
Other tennis stars, like Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep have also expressed concerns about playing in the tournament under the health protocols that have been drafted.
Their concerns are about whether or not those protocols would be sufficient to keep the players properly safe.
The situation has been further complicated by the ongoing social unrest in the USA after the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.
Kyrgios also tweeted at Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, asking the three titans of tennis whether they would be happy to participate in the tournament as things stand.
The Australian did not receive any public replies to his tweets.
Other players have expressed concerns about what might happen to their chances of making a living if the tournament does not go ahead, however.
The American Danielle Collins, the 51st-ranked woman in the world, posted a statement on social media highlighting that it was easy for very wealthy players to complain about tournaments taking place.
“It’s easy when someone’s made $150 million throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open,” she posted on social media.
Meanwhile, Spanish veteran player Feliciano Lopez has stated that players will need to accept cuts to prize money if they want the sport to survive.
He has also said that tournaments will need to be played, either behind closed doors or with reduced numbers of spectators, otherwise the sport may not survive the Covid-19 crisis.
“I’m talking as a player now – but I’m also a tournament director and I am able to see the reality, to see how tough it is to survive in this crisis,” he said, according to The Guardian.
“It is hitting everyone. It’s tough to break even. This is what the players need to understand. It is really urgent that everybody plays.
“But, if we don’t have tournaments, it’s possible the ATP is not going to survive either. We need to stay together. It is the only way to survive.”