Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has announced that he will not play at the US Open over coronavirus fears.
In a video posted on Sunday, Kyrgios – Australia’s second highest-ranked male tennis player – said he made the decision out of respect for the people who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
The tournament is set to start on August 31 at its usual home in New York, but without fans present.
“I will not be playing this year at the US Open,” Kyrgios said.
“It hurts me at my core not to be out there, competing in one of the sport’s greatest arenas, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“But I’m sitting out for the people, my Aussies, for the hundreds and thousands of American people who have lost their lives. For all of you.
“It’s my decision.”
It comes days after Ash Barty, the women’s world number one, announced on Thursday that she has withdrawn from the Grand Slam because of “significant risks involved due to COVID-19.”
Kyrgios has been an outspoken critic of his fellow tennis stars amid the coronavirus crisis.
In June he described the decision to go ahead with a tournament organised by men’s world number one Novak Djokovic as “boneheaded.” Players including Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric later tested positive for COVID-19.
On Sunday Kyrgios said he had no issue with the US Open going ahead but called for competitors to be responsible.
“You can’t be dancing on tables, money grabbing your way around Europe, trying to make a quick buck hosting an exhibition,” he said.
“That’s just so selfish. Think of all the other people for once.
“That’s what this virus is about. It doesn’t care about your world ranking, or how much money you have. Act responsibly.”
As of Sunday afternoon, there had been 17,923 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in the last 24 hours is 687, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
The national death toll has grown to 208 with seven new deaths since Saturday in the state of Victoria, where the 2020 Australian Open was held earlier this year.