Djokovic warns US Open organisers against strict conditions

World Number one Novak Djokovic has urged US Open to relax strict conditions on players wishing to enter the Grand Slam.

Djokovic suggested that his season might resume on clay rather than at the US Open.

Djokovic warns US Open organisers

“Nothing is certain yet, a final decision is expected by the end of the month,” world number one Djokovic told Serbian broadcaster RTS, adding players would wait for the European tournaments if the US Open stuck to its guns over virus fears.

“For me what seems real at the moment is that the clay court season will continue in early September with Madrid, Rome and a few more tournaments before Roland Garros,” three-time US Open winner Djokovic added.

Djokovic won the only slam contested this year. He triumphed in Australia before the tennis season was put on hold in mid-March, with Roland Garros postponed and Wimbledon cancelled. 

There is a growing push in the United States to restart sports events and the US Open is slated to go ahead, with the main draw scheduled to start on 31 August.

72bc3400 novak djokovic warns us open - Djokovic warns US Open organisers against strict conditions
Djokovic Warns US Open. Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during his men’s singles fourth round match against Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany during Day nine of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Extreme conditions turn off number one

As the US Open venue Flushing Meadow is in New York, which was the epicentre of the outbreak in the US, authorities and organisers have drawn up a list of hygiene rules that Djokovic says may mean taking part may not be worth it. 

“At the moment the measures in force are very severe,” he said.

Djokovic objects to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for players arriving in the United States, and the restriction to a one-person entourage. The 17-time Slam winner also complained that players would not be allowed to stay in Manhattan but would be housed in airport hotels near the venue.

The Serb remains open to playing in the tournament which is set to be the second of three Slams this year.

“These are pretty extreme conditions and I don’t know if they are sustainable. Most of the players I’ve talked to so far have a rather negative view of the possibility of going,” he said.

“Of course, we would all like to return to the courts as soon as possible and play tournaments, the ones before the US Open and the US Open and I hope they will take place but there has to be a compromise between the organisers and the players. We’ll see if it will happen”. 

Last week Spanish world number two, and reigning US Open champion, Rafael Nadal expressed reservations similar to those held by the number one..

Women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty has also voiced caution about resuming tennis too soon, saying she needed more information before she could commit to the US Open.

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