Osaka's agent: 2-time Slam champ to play US Open, tuneup

NEW YORK (AP) — Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is planning to play at the U.S. Open and the hard-court tuneup at the same site earlier in August.

Osaka's agent, Stuart Duguid, said Thursday that the former No. 1-ranked player will enter both tournaments the U.S. Tennis Association is holding in Flushing Meadows.

He would not comment on additional scheduling plans for Osaka. She won the 2018 U.S. Open and followed that with a title at the 2019 Australian Open.

The current No. 1 woman, Ash Barty, withdrew from the U.S. Open because she’s not comfortable with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. The Grand Slam tournament is scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.

Other players have expressed concern about traveling to the United States, where more than 150,000 people have died from COVID-19. The virus is spiking in some parts of the country.

Osaka was not on the entry list announced Wednesday for the Western & Southern Open, which is scheduled for Aug. 20-28 and was moved from Cincinnati to the same hard courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that host the U.S. Open. But she can still get in via a wild-card invitation.

No sanctioned professional tennis events have been played since March because of the coronavirus. Both the women’s and men’s tours plan to return in August. The women’s tour still aims to return next week at Palermo, Italy.

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