Tennis

US Open chiefs must resolve quarantine rules or risk mass player withdrawals – Mouratoglou

Patrick Mouratoglou has urged USTA officials to quickly clarify whether European-based players and coaches will be forced to quarantine for two weeks after playing at the US Open.

Players are expected to be exempt from the current travel restrictions between Europe and the US, thus allowing them to play in New York.

But for players aiming to compete at the French Open two weeks later, it is not clear whether they will be required to quarantine for up to 14 days when they return home.

If enforced, it would severely hamper preparations for Roland Garros for players.

World No 7 Kiki Bertens announced on Friday she had decided to withdraw from the US Open and cited the possibility of having to quarantine as a major factor in her decision while world No 5 Elina Svitolina also confirmed she will not be playing at Flushing Meadows.

And more European-based players are expected to publicly announce their intention not to travel in the days leading up to the US Open.

Mouratoglou, the coach of Serena Williams, is in Lexington, Kentucky and will reunite with the 23-time Grand Slam champion as she prepares to play at the Top Seed Open next week.

Speaking in an interview with Express Sport, the Frenchman said that without a guarantee there won’t be a quarantine period, players will have to pick between the French Open and US Open.

“It is extremely difficult to play back-to-back the American and then European swing,” he said.

“I think most players think about results because that’s their job but for a top player who thinks they can win Roland Garros or be in the semis and is probably be their best chance of year, what is going to happen if they go to the US Open and is in quarantine when they come back to Europe?

“It is not clear and even if it is approved, it can change any time. I will be in the US but maybe Europe will close the borders with them and say from now on everyone has to be in quarantine regardless of whether you are a tennis player and you miss Roland Garros.

“If this is not guaranteed, the fact there is no quarantine on the way back, I feel players are in a situation where they have to choose between playing the US Open or Roland Garros. So that’s why I can understand why some people have made the choice to stay in Europe.

“For Europeans, the clay-court swing, if they have to make a choice, is more important than the American swing.

“For now we have no guarantee that we won’t be in quarantine when we come back to Europe.

“You couldn’t play Madrid before it was cancelled, Rome, you are quarantined in a room or apartment and then have to play a Grand Slam on clay, without any matches, it is not possible.

“So because we don’t have any guarantee of that, I can understand why some players make the choice to skip the US.”

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