Novak Djokovic on Friday joined Rafael Nadal and WTA fellow No. 1 Ash Barty in expressing apprehension over the possible strict guidelines which might accompany any last-ditch attempt to try and get the US Open off to its scheduled August 31 start.
With COVID-19 still a major issue in the US hotspot of New York, tournament officials are struggling to somehow devise a scenario which would allow the money-spinning major to go ahead – almost certainly without fans.
But Djokovic lashed out to Serbian TV over rules which would likely limit players to just one other team member as well as force them to stay in a group hotel near one of the city’s inefficient and under-served air hubs.
Djokovic, for one, is having none of it.
Nadal has said he is casting a jaundiced eye on any entry into the event while Barty expressed similar doubts to Djokovic about the fate of her sizeable backup team – most of who would be banned from joining her were the tournament to go ahead.
The Serb called the proposed health regulations “extreme” after what he said was a chat with tennis bosses.
“Just yesterday 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,” he told Prva TV.
“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme.”
With players like the three-time champion used to luxury accomodation in Manhattan and access to restaurants and other amenities in the metropolis, the idea of a stripped-down Open does not appeal in the least.
“We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week,” Djokovic said.
“Also, we could bring one person to the club which is really impossible. You need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.
“All their suggestions are really rigorous but I can understand that due to financial reasons, due to already existing contracts, organisers (want to play)
“We will see what will happen.”
The Open is struggling to avoid a multi-million dollar loss, with officials working nonstop to try and cobble together an ad hoc solution.
Roger Federer has said already that he is not keen on playing in empty stadiums while Nadal said that as of now, the New York health situation would prevent him from travelling to the city were the event to be held this week.