New York (AP) – Serena Williams has left her participation in the French Open in Paris open and has questions to the organizers before making a decision.
“I have to make the best decision for my health,” said the 38-year-old American after her quarter-finals at the US Open. “Maybe it would be good for me to talk to the organizers to see how it works with the public and how we are protected.”
Due to her past health concerns, she is particularly cautious in the coronavirus crisis. Almost three weeks before the start of the French Open, the tournament organizers presented their hygiene concept on Monday and significantly reduced the number of spectators allowed. Instead of the originally planned 20,000 people a day, the Grand Slam tournament from September 27 to October 11 should now see 11,500 spectators at the facility.
Unlike at the US Open, where, for example, the world’s number one Novak Djokovic, who was excluded on Sunday, lived in a specially rented house, all professionals in Paris should live in hotels. Williams had hoped to live in an apartment in Paris, she explained.
Tennis world number one Ashleigh Barty has already made a decision and does not want to defend her title at the French Open this year due to the global corona pandemic. In an Instagram post, the 24-year-old Australian mentioned health risks of not participating. In addition, her trainer’s entry ban did not allow her to properly prepare for the classic clay court in Paris, which will take place from September 27 to October 11. Barty had also canceled her participation in the currently running US Open.
“Last year’s French Open was the most special tournament of my career, so this decision was not an easy one for me,” she wrote on Instagram. “The health and wellbeing of my family and my team will always be my number one priority.”
In 2019, Barty became the first Australian to win the individual title in the French capital in nearly half a century. Due to the increasing number of corona infections, Paris has recently been declared a high-risk area.