Friday, August 14, 2020
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Bubble breakers must be punished – Murray

Andy Murray
Andy Murray has been building up his fitness by playing doubles at the Battle of the Brits event

Britain’s Andy Murray says there must be “severe repercussions” for players who break the US Open safety bubble at next month’s Grand Slam in New York.

The event is set to be held without fans at Flushing Meadows with players having to follow strict measures.

But there are fears some may break the curfew by going out in Manhattan and putting the event in jeopardy.

“The repercussions should be quite serious, you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk,” said Murray.

The United States Tennis Association is hosting a double tournament at Flushing Meadows, having moved the Cincinnati Masters to New York.

The event will staged at the Billie Jean King Tennis Centre from 22 August, with the US Open taking place immediately afterwards on 31 August.

Former world number one Murray, who is continuing to build up his fitness after pelvic and shin issues this year, is planning to play both events.

The USTA measures within the safety bubble include regular testing, mitigation measures and increased sanitisation. The organisation said on Friday it was confident the health and safety of everyone involved in the tournaments remained “on track”.

“I think the majority of players will follow the rules but it would be silly to expect nobody would break the rules and the protocols,” said Murray.

Last week, American player Danielle Collins was dismissed from the World Team Tennis event in West Virginia for breaching coronavirus protocols.

Collins drove two hours away to the neighbouring state of Virginia, telling the New York Timesexternal-link she travelled to buy supplements to help with her rheumatoid arthritis.

“In the NBA for example, which I think will be a similar set-up to the tennis, players have broken the bubble so we should be preparing for that,” added Murray.

“The USTA is going through a huge effort to try to get this on and make it as safe as possible so if players aren’t abiding by the rules the repercussions should be severe.”

The 33-year-old Scot is expecting to book his flights to New York over the weekend, with the number of cases continuing to decrease in the state.

Once the epicentre of the pandemic, New York recorded 668 new cases this week, but the US as a whole is seeing rising infections, recording nearly 1.8m new coronavirus cases in July, while the death rate rose 19%.

Australia’s women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty pulled out of the US Open on Thursday because of her concerns, although Murray said the decisions of other players had no bearing on his own plans.

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