KEY POINTS

  • Andy Murray wants heavier penalties on COVID-19 bubble violators ahead of US Open
  • World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has decided to skip the Grand Slam in the U.S.
  • Murray plans to arrive in New York first to compete at the relocated Western & Southern Open

Andy Murray is calling for the imposition of heavy sanctions on possible COVID-19 bubble violators ahead of the US Open. The British tennis star warned that organizers might fail to ensure the safety of the competing players if harsh penalties are not slapped on rule-breakers as he believes escaping from the bubble could not be avoided.

As he compared their current set up with that of the NBA, Murray said that preparation is paramount in making sure that the sudden rise of COVID-19 positive cases in the bubble is contained.

“I think the majority of players will (respect the bubble) but it would be silly to expect nobody would break the rules and the protocols,” he said. “In the NBA, which I think will be a similarish set up for us, players have broken it so we should be preparing for that and that is where it is really important. I think the repercussions should be quite serious because you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk.”

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has decided to skip the Grand Slam in the U.S., leading to hesitation from other players as the viability of competing in the event stays in the air.

But despite the emergence of a debate, Murray seems determined to land in the States to play as he refused to be influenced by other players’ decisions.

“Everyone will have different feelings (about) it. We are all individuals,” said the 33-year-old, who is planning to arrive in New York first to compete at the relocated Western & Southern Open.

“I will have apprehensions about getting there and getting on flights for the first time in months. It is a difficult one because you don’t know when the right time to start traveling would be, who do you listen to? Do you trust everything the government is telling you all the time? Probably not. You need to make your own decision and I trust that the USTA will have come up with a secure bubble for the players.”

Murray’s concerns spawned from the hesitance of tennis governing bodies in imposing strict rules, according to the Guardian. An excerpt from the ATP’s rulebook was published in the report stating that “any repetitive or blatant break of (Covid-19) measures may be considered a violation of the code of conduct.” It was then stated that violations would only cost a fine of up to $20,000 (£15,000).

Andy Murray is confident of playing 'high level' tennis again Andy Murray is confident of playing 'high level' tennis again Photo: AFP / NOEL CELIS