Wimbledon champion Simona Halep says that she has reservations about travelling to New York City to play in this year's US Open.
The US Open is the first Grand Slam that is scheduled to be played since major sporting events were cancelled worldwide in March. The event is set to be played at Flushing Meadows, New York, from August 31. With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down in the United States, Halep has reasons to be concerned.
The United States is currently the hardest-hit country in the world, with close to 3 million COVID-19 infections to date, and still rising. New York is also one of the country's hot spots in terms of number of cases.
While speaking to the BBC, Halep admitted that her US Open plans are "not set in stone." It means that she may still opt out of the competition since she is still "a little bit worried to make that move."
"I will wait and see what is being decided, see what the other players will do," she said, adding that she has no idea what will happen in the next month or so before the event is scheduled to take place.
Even before the US Open, the WTA Tour is set to return to action on August 3 with the Palermo Open in Italy. A lot will depend on the success of that tournament, given that Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, with over 240,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and close to 35,000 deaths.
Despite her concerns, Halep admits that she's excited to get back on court and needs some matches. "It was the longest break of my life," she said. The pandemic has allowed her to lead a normal life in the past few months. "I did normal stuff, nothing special. I wanted to chill and clear my mind, after many years at the top the pressure was high," she shared.
This year's Wimbledon has already been cancelled, as it was originally scheduled to be played at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. Halep was not able to get the chance to defend her title this year. Nevertheless, she sees the silver lining, "I'm the Wimbledon champion for two years - I love that! I have one more year to enjoy it more, it is huge," she concluded.