In the last couple of days, the US Open and Roland Garros organizers have confirmed their tournaments for the end of August and September, respectively. The coronavirus had stopped the tennis season back in March and the action will resume in August, with a chance for the ATP players to compete in a couple of tournaments ahead of the US Open.
Of course, nothing will be the same as before the pandemic and the organizers will have to follow strict health measures to keep everything under control, with no crowd allowed to watch matches in New York and without the qualifying, wheelchair and junior draws.
World no. 1 and multiple US Open champion Novak Djokovic is thrilled about the US Open and Roland Garros but is still far from deciding whether to compete or not in New York. The Serb would love to see all the players from the top-100 in contention but that doesn’t seem likely at the moment, with different coronavirus measures in different parts of the world.
Also, it would be hard for him to accept quarantine and stay in New York for two weeks without having access to the practice court or gym.
Still, Novak believes a lot could change in the next two months, hoping for measures to go down even more and allow the players to compete as they are used to at Majors.
“I’m thrilled and excited to see that all the tournaments, especially Grand Slams, are organizing their events,” Djokovic said.
“I think that a lot of people were skeptical, especially for the US events considering what the US went through as a country during this pandemic. Many people, including myself, were quite skeptical about whether it would happen.
We are delighted that it is happening, of course, and we must provide jobs and opportunities for players to compete. As tennis professionals, we love sport and we are passionate about it. We miss competing and traveling, and we miss being on tour at the end of the day.
I think this is very positive news. The regulations and measures as of today are quite strict, I must say, with quarantine and with some players, especially those from South America, not being able to travel out of their countries to come to the States.
Hopefully, that will change: the ATP and the USTA, everyone is working on it. The worst-case scenario is that it remains like this, but there is time. Hopefully, every single player who participates, chosen by ranking, and deserves their place at the US Open will have an equal opportunity to travel there and compete like everybody else.
It is essential because this is the foundation of the ATP and the foundation of international tennis. We will all collectively try to make sure that this is the priority. Let’s hope that in the next two months some of those restrictions will loosen up and we will have a great, great tournament.
Of course, Roland Garros moved to different calendar dates, and I am glad that they were able to put everything together because I understand the complications and the challenges behind the tournament organization. The US Open is one of the most important tournaments in the world, one of the sacred tournaments in the history of our sport.
It’s a tournament I’ve always enjoyed playing. We have another two months until the start of the US tournaments, so hopefully, the measures and regulations as it stands today will be different and loosen up a bit, especially with the quarantine.
The foundation of our international sport is that every player who has fought hard deserves his place in the US Open, with an equal opportunity to come, fly to New York, and compete. For me, this is fundamental. Speaking about the US Open in general, for me, quarantine is not easy to accept, especially if you do not have access to the tennis courts and gym areas.
All of us tennis players care about staying in shape. It’s tough if you have to stay 14 days in quarantine and not be able to train. As I’ve heard from some people at USTA and ATP I’ve talked to in the last couple of weeks, it’s highly likely that we will be able to go and use the courts during the quarantine if it stays there.
Also, there is a possibility there is no quarantine for athletes coming in, which would be phenomenal. Right now, there is still plenty of time to decide if I go or not. I cannot tell you yes or no. I would love to go, of course, but I have to see how it all plays out with the regulations.”