Novak Djokovic says playing at US Open will be an impossible task due to 'extreme' COVID-19 protocol

The suspension of the tennis season was last extended until the end of July but Djokovic, a three-time champion in New York, is not sure the tournament will go ahead.

Reuters June 07, 2020 00:04:32 IST
Novak Djokovic says playing at US Open will be an impossible task due to 'extreme' COVID-19 protocol

World number one Novak Djokovic has said participating in the US Open would be an impossible task due to the “extreme” COVID-19 protocols in place for the tournament at Flushing Meadows.

Novak Djokovic says playing at US Open will be an impossible task due to extreme COVID19 protocol

File image of Novak Djokovic. AP

The US Open, scheduled to begin on 31 August, will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season in March. The French Open was postponed to September while the Wimbledon championships were cancelled.

The suspension of the tennis season was last extended until the end of July but Djokovic, a three-time champion in New York, is not sure the tournament will go ahead.

“I had a telephone conversation with the leaders of world tennis. There were talks about the continuation of the season, mostly about the US Open due in late August, but it’s not known whether it will be held,” Djokovic told Serbia’s Prva TV.

“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme. We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week."

“Also, we could bring one person to the club which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”

Djokovic suggested economic factors were behind the push to play the tournament.

“They want the tournament to go ahead at any cost for economic reasons, which I understand,” he said. “But the question is, how many players are willing to accept those terms.”

World number two Rafael Nadal had also said he would not travel to the US in the present circumstances.

Nadal has also questioned whether tennis can restart with the pandemic still gripping large parts of the world and unless every player is able to compete.

“For me is very difficult to separate the status that the world is living from my real perspective on the world of tennis, no?” Nadal said this week.

“We need to be responsible, we need to be sure that the situation is safe enough, and then, of course, try to come back to our tour when the things are clear.”

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