Photo Halep’s coach Darren Cahill with one of his former players Andre Agassi
As the top players chew over the logistical possibilities posed by the USTA for the US Open due to begin on 31 August in the light of the current state of the COVID 19 pandemic, Simona Halep’s coach Darren Cahill fears that the conditions “would not work” for his charge.
The former Australian Davis Cup coach told Reuters over the phone from his home in Adelaide “The restrictions are tough.Incredibly difficult, and every player will have their own opinion as to whether that will work for them“
Cahill added that organizers are considering flying players to New York from around the world on charter flights and keeping them in an ‘isolation bubble” the TWA hotel close to JFK Airport, with only one support staff, and regular testing for COVID-19.
From Simona’s point of view, you got to fly over from Romania, you need to spend four weeks in this one hotel in New York, and you can only bring one person,” the Aussie said.
“I’m pretty sure that won’t work for Simona”
With the hardcourt Grand Slam to start on August 31, if there is to be no qualifying event, the men’s world number one Novak Djokovic has already stated that it would be “impossible” to play under the proposed protocols.
“If you’re in a baseball team or a football team … at least you have your team mates to travel with, to socialise with and to eat with and to train with. Tennis is a little bit different because it’s an individual sport.”
“Normally you have a physio, a hitting partner, trainer and maybe a coach or two. You’ve got to basically stay in this bubble with only one person for three or four weeks, and you have to be professional and compete at the highest level.
“So now there are going to be a lot of players that have an issue with that for sure.”
54 year old Cahill also added that there would be an added issue for married players, particularly those with young children.
With the USTA’s decision due by June 15, the coach, who has worked with some of the games top players, including Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi has his “fingers crossed” that the pandemic situation will improve rapidly and sufficiently to make such protocols unnecessary.
“We all want to get back to work so hoping the tennis tour starts out really soon,” he said. “I know the U.S. Open officials are trying their hardest to make it happen.
As for his World #2 Halep, the tennis shutdown could be “a blessing in disguise” Cahill said, adding that the 28-year-old has thoroughly enjoyed the break.