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Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski critical of decision to play U.S. Open

Canadian doubles specialist Gabriela Dabrowski has hit out at the decision to go ahead with this year’s U.S. Open, saying that despite strict health protocols it will be “impossible” to protect players in a bio-secure bubble throughout the event.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated Tuesday the United States Tennis Association would take “extraordinary precautions” to protect players from COVID-19, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space and dedicated accommodation.

The event will go ahead as originally scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 without fans.

“It is IMPOSSIBLE to control and enforce a bubble situation where players only move from the hotel to the venue and back,” Dabrowski, who has won the Australian Open and the French Open mixed doubles titles, said on Twitter.

“We don’t know who players will come into contact with and those that don’t obey put everyone else in the tournament at RISK.”

Reports in U.S. media and tennis publications say the USTA had decided to remove qualifying, halve the doubles draw to 32 pairings and drop the mixed doubles tournament altogether.

Dabrowski, 28, said many players were uncomfortable about travelling to the U.S. due to the coronavirus situation and were concerned about having to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests at the event.

Others had expressed disappointment they would be unable to compete because of the streamlined tournament, she added.

Women’s world No. 2 Simona Halep is “highly unlikely” to play at Flushing Meadows due to the protocols, a spokeswoman for the Romanian told Reuters.

“If the conditions are as set out on paper for U.S. Open, as Simo [Halep] has been consistent in saying, it’s highly unlikely she will play,” a spokeswoman for the Romanian told Reuters. Halep’s coach Darren Cahill had told Reuters last week the protocols were “incredibly difficult” and would probably not work for the two-times Grand Slam winner.

According to Dabrowski, the absence of a qualifying and smaller doubles draw rises the lack of parity in tennis.

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