Novak Djokovic would be willing – if pressed – to give up on the ATP Cup in January if the Australian Open could be played as scheduled.
The world No. 1 revealed his thoughts on the COVID-19 situation with the deadline for deciding on the immediate tennis future draws closer.
While Grand Slam boss Craig Tiley insisted at the weekend that all ATP and WTA events in the summer of tennis would be moved to the relatively virus-free state of Victoria, government may well have other ideas.
Hard line State Premier Daniel Andrews said not so fast, warning that the tennis programme is far from a “done deal.”
The huge uncertainty leaves Djokovic and the rest of the Tour uneasy at best.
With Australia having been locked down for most of 2020, should tennis be allowed, a two-week quarantine for around 500 players – plus limited entourages – would be required.
That would mean mid-December departures from Europe at the latest for the majority of any potential Grand Slam field.
“We just have to wait and see, I guess. I don’t know,” Djokovic said on Monday after defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3 in an ATP Finals group match in locked-down London.
“I hope that it will happen. I want to play in Australia, (the) Australian Open. “
He added a proviso: “I’m not sure about the ATP Cup and the tournaments before, because obviously you have to leave quite in advance, actually, I think two-and-a-half or three weeks prior to the first match.
“So let’s see how that goes.
“We don’t know whether the ATP Cup is happening. We heard some rumours there might be eight teams only.
“In that case maybe the ATP should try to do another 250 event or – I mean, it’s not easy for anybody, really.
“I’m just hoping for the sake of tennis and sake of players that we will have Australian Open and also possibly the ATP Cup and a couple more tournaments at least.”
Despite no clarity from the state government, the Open would be limited to around one quarter of normal attendance – usually 800,000 or so for the fortnight) – with players quarantined inside a tennis bubble for perhaps a month of competition in the best case scenario.