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No asterisk on US Open – Navratilova

Martina Navratilova celebrates winning the 1986 US Open
Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, including four US Opens in 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 31 August – 13 September
Coverage: Selected radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website, plus daily reports and analysis

American legend Martina Navratilova says this year’s US Open titles will not be devalued by the absence of several top players in New York.

A host of star names, including defending champions Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, are not playing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Grand Slam event starts at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

“I won’t view the winners differently, there won’t be an asterisk,” said Navratilova, who won 18 Slam singles.

“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.”

The women’s singles has been the hardest hit by withdrawals because of health and travel concerns, with six of the world’s top 10 not playing at Flushing Meadows.

As as well as Andreescu, Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep are among those who have decided not to compete.

Six-time champion Serena Williams, bidding for a 24th Grand Slam title, and 2018 winner Naomi Osaka are playing.

On the men’s side, Spanish great Nadal and France’s world number nine Gael Monfils have pulled out because of their concerns. Swiss 20-time major champion Roger Federer is missing because of a knee injury.

Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic is playing as he targets an 18th major.

“It is obviously a bit easier for the winner because they don’t have that many top players there, especially on women’s side,” added Navratilova on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Tennis programme.

“But they didn’t put an asterisk at Wimbledon 1973 when most of the players didn’t play because of a boycott and they don’t put one by the Australian Open when a lot 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.”

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