BORIS BECKER reignited his spat with Nick Kyrgios by criticising the Australian for skipping the US Open over coronavirus fears.
Kyrgios, 25, decided to miss the first Grand Slam back after the lockdown because he still did not feel it was safe to travel and play.
But he was not alone as his compatriot and world No1 Ash Barty also decided against competing, as did Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and former champion Stan Wawrinka.
Neither of the 2019 winners Rafael Nadal or injured Bianca Andreescu are at Flushing Meadows this fortnight, either – but Becker excused the Spaniard.
Writing for the Daily Mail ahead of the US Open, Becker singled out Kyrgios once again and questioned his commitment to tennis.
He said: "In the troubled lead-up to the US Open I found myself wondering whether, if I was still a player, I would have travelled to New York to compete.
"It was not a long debate: I would definitely have gone. In fact, after six months of not being able to play I would have swum across the Atlantic to get there.
"If in your heart you are a competitor, and you have been starved of opportunities, why would you not be desperate to participate in one of the great events again after all this time?
"It is a shame that the likes of Nick Kyrgios are not here but I always expected him to cancel as I doubt he really loves the game.
"I have to say I am surprised and disappointed that six out of the top ten women are not going to be there and I hope they will come to regret it.
"No individual is bigger than the sport and we are talking about fighting for the future of the game, about saving a lot of jobs that depend on these tournaments going ahead.
"The US Tennis Association were between a rock and a hard place and appear to have done a good job in creating the bubble and getting this on."
Becker and Kyrgios were involved in a war of words on Twitter in June.
The Australian was typically uncompromising in his bashing of Novak Djokovic's controversial Adria Tour and Alexander Zverev's decision to go out partying despite the Covid-19 outbreak.
Becker, 52, labelled Kyrgios a "rat" for calling out the Covidiots, with the world No40 defending himself as holding people to account and describing the German as a "doughnut".
He added: "When my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing and you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something.
"@TheBorisBecker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though."
However, despite Nadal also choosing not to play, Becker refused to have a bad word against the 19-time Grand Slam winner.
He added: "I would exclude Rafael Nadal from criticism.
"He has done so much for the game and it is obvious that he wants to prepare for the postponed French Open – which has been shifted to a late September start – and give himself the best chance of winning a 20th Grand Slam.
"Given his age of 34, the problems he has had with his knees and ankles, plus the change of surface, then it makes sense for him to sit this one out and get ready for Paris."
Novak Djokovic is the heavy favourite on the men's side as he chases his 18th major and continue his unbeaten 2020 season while Serena Williams is going for a record-equalling 24th.
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