Novak Djokovic confirms participation in US Open, Western and Southern Open

Djokovic's decision to take part in the US Open is a major boost for the tournament after a host of headline names pulled out.

Agence France-Presse August 13, 2020 18:05:28 IST
Novak Djokovic confirms participation in US Open, Western and Southern Open

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he will play at the US Open, ending speculation about his presence at the first Grand Slam tournament since the coronavirus restart.

"I'm happy to confirm that I‘ll participate at #CincyTennis and #USOpen this year," Djokovic tweeted.

"It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited," the 17-time Grand Slam winner added.

The US Open is due to get underway behind closed doors in New York on 31 August.

Djokovic initially complained about the US Tennis Association’s plans to try to protect people from the coronavirus pandemic with such measures as limiting the size of players’ entourages, going so far as to say he didn’t know whether he would participate.

 

It is preceded by the Western and Southern Open, which is normally played in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year.

Djokovic's decision to take part in the US Open is a major boost for the tournament after a host of headline names pulled out.

Djokovic has won three of his 17 Grand Slam titles at the US Open and was the runner-up there five times. By playing this year, he will have a chance to narrow the gap between him and the only two men with more major trophies: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Federer, who has won 20 Slam championships, is sidelined for the rest of 2020 after having two operations on his right knee. Nadal, who owns 19 Major titles and is the reigning champion in New York, said he was pulling out of the US Open because of concerns about traveling amid the pandemic.

Djokovic was one of several people — including his wife; one of his coaches, Goran Ivanisevic; and other players — who got the coronavirus during an exhibition tour he organised in Serbia and Croatia while the professional tennis tours were suspended.

At the exhibitions, which Djokovic said raised money for those affected by the pandemic, the stands were packed and players casually interacted with fans and each other off the court. The tour eventually was shut down.

Earlier, when he was staying in Spain in May, Djokovic broke local lockdown rules by practicing at a tennis club about a week before it was allowed.

“I am aware that this time around it will be very different with all the protocols and safety measures that are put in place to protect players and people of NY,” Djokovic said in a statement issued on Thursday. “Nevertheless, I have trained hard with my team and got my body in shape so I am ready to adapt to new conditions. I’ve done all the checkups to make sure I am fully recovered and I am ready to get back on court fully committed to playing my best tennis.”

He is 18-0 this season, including a victory at the Australian Open in February. That's the only Grand Slam tournament that's been completed this year so far, because the French Open was postponed in May — it now will begin 27 September, two weeks after the US Open is to end — and Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years.

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