US Open 2020: Novak Djokovic says it's important that all players are free to travel to New York for Grand Slam
World No 1 Novak Djokovic says he is excited by the prospect of playing at the US Open but says it would only be fair if every player eligible is able to compete
New York: World No 1 Novak Djokovic says he is excited by the prospect of playing at the US Open but says it would only be fair if every player eligible is able to compete.
The Unites States Tennis Association (USTA) announced this week that the US Open would go ahead at the end of August without fans and with strict health protocols in place.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still peaking in some regions of the world, Djokovic is concerned that many players will not be able to travel even if they wanted to.
“Hopefully every single player who is participating, chosen by ranking and who deserves their place at the US Open, will have an equal opportunity to travel there and compete as everybody else,” Djokovic told Eurosport’s Tennis Legends podcast.
“This is very important because this is the foundation of the ATP and the foundation of international tennis.”
Several leading players have voiced their concerns about the US Open taking place, especially as the US has the most deaths from COVID-19 in the world.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal said he would be unlikely to travel there in the current circumstances while women’s World No 2 Simona Halep has also indicated she will not go.
Earlier this month Djokovic said competing in New York would be impossible because of the “extreme” COVID-19 protocols in place for the tournament at Flushing Meadows.
However, the Serb says he is very glad it is going ahead and that the ATP Tour would resume in August after being suspended since March because of the pandemic.
“I’m extremely happy and excited to see that all the tournaments, especially Grand Slams, are organising their events,” the 33-year-old 17-time Grand Slam champion said.
“I think that a lot of people were skeptical, especially for the U.S. events considering what the US went through as a country during this pandemic. So a lot of people, including myself, were quite skeptical on whether it would happen or not.
“Let’s hope that in the next two months some of those restrictions will loosen up a bit and that we will have a great, great tournament.”
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World number one Djokovic will try to complete the first calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 and only the fourth ever after Laver in 1962 and Don Budge in 1938.
Novak Djokovic didn't win a calendar Grand Slam or a 21st major but he got something he yearned equally: public affection.