Popyrin expresses his US Open fears

Rising Australian tennis star Alexei Popyrin is concerned about losing precious rankings points if he opts against playing this year's US Open in New York.

ALEXEI POPYRIN of Australia plays a backhand during the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
ALEXEI POPYRIN of Australia plays a backhand during the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Australian tennis star Alexei Popyrin is concerned he may be forced to play the US Open against his wishes or face a rankings freefall.

Officials are pressing ahead with plans to stage the New York major from August 31 to September 13 despite the coronavirus crisis continuing to plague the US.

Based in France where he's competing in Patrick Mouratoglou's Ultimate Tennis Showdown, Popyrin reached the third round of last year's US Open.

The 20-year-old earned 90 rankings points for the effort and, should he fail to defend them at Flushing Meadows, he would face the prospect of slipping from No.103 in the world rankings to about 117th.

The cut-off for direct entry to grand slams is normally about No.105, placing Popyrin in a precarious position.

"There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don't want to go with the situation in America right now," Popyrin said after losing his latest UTS match to Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

"But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.

"If the ranking points won't be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn't have any say in it.

"But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.

"I will stay in Europe where it's safe with my family."

Popyrin, who has won three of his eight UTS matches to be seventh among the 10 competitors, is uncertain about his participation at the French Open which is scheduled for September 20 to October 4.

"We'll have to see if anything is going to be played," he told EssentiallySports.

"I think if the same rule is applied for the French Open, it's big a risk to play, especially if they say that they want to play with the fans, which I am not sure would be possible right now.

"It's very risky to playing anything right now, which includes fans.

"But we'll just have to wait and see."


AAP