U.S. Open titles will not be devalued by pull-outs, says Navratilova

Martina Navratilova does not believe this year’s U.S. Open titles will be less significance in spite of the withdrawal of top players from the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s draw has seen six of the top 10 players, including holder Bianca Andreescu and world number one Ash Barty, drop out of the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 U.S. Open.

Men’s world number two Rafael Nadal will also not defend his title while former winner Stan Wawrinka has not travelled to New York for the hardcourt Grand Slam.

“I won’t view the winners differently, there won’t be an asterisk.

“We know in the long term that 2020 is different but everybody is in the same situation and we will see who makes the most of it,” Navratilova told the BBC.

American Serena Williams has also said that the dropouts will not take the shine off a potential record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title for her.

“It is obviously a bit easier for the winner because they don’t have  many top players there, especially on the women’s side.

“But they didn’t put an asterisk at Wimbledon 1973 when most of the players didn’t play and they did not put one by the Australian Open when  most of  the players didn’t go there.

“We don’t treat Marion Bartoli’s win at Wimbledon in 2013 any different even though she didn’t play anyone ranked higher than 17th that’s just how the draw works out.

“You might have all the top players playing and the winner still might never have to play them,” Navratilova said.

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