Serbian legend, Novak Djokovic has expressed his pessimism about participating in this year’s US Open due to the measures and protocols that would be enforced in a bid to keep everyone safe.
Late last month, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), released some protocol that would guide the tournament, including a centralised housing plan, no locker room access on practice days, players to handle their towels, and a list of other rules.
Djokovic has described the protocols as “extreme”. He said, “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 is not known whether it will be held. The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme.”
The world number 1 laid emphasis on not having access to Manhattan and the many health checks that would take place during the week, not to forget that they would have to sleep in the hotel at the airport.
He also faulted the decision for a player to have just one person with them, saying, “I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”
The USTA has not come to a complete decision on when the event would start but it is expected to begin in the last week of August. They also made it clear that they could be changes in the plans, including the venue.
So nothing is set on stone yet. Rafael Nadal also hinted that he might not take part in the event, where he is expected to defend his title, due to quarantine restrictions and health safety. He advised that it would be good to shift the tournament to a time when everyone feels safe to travel.
Dan Evans, British Number 1, has, however, dismissed Djokovic’s concerns over the protocols being too harsh, particularly regarding the one about only bringing one person along.
He said, “I don’t think having one person of your team only allowed is such a big deal – the majority of the draw would only travel with one coach. Not everyone’s travelling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.”
We wait for the final decision of the USTA and if they would be a revision of the protocols.
Written by: Leon Osamor