Novak Djokovic threw US Open organisers a prestige lifeline on Thursday, with the world No. 1 confirming his appearance in New York this month amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.
The Serb who had been keeping his options open, will help the crowd-free, Grand Slam maintain some aura of respectability after the virus-inspired pullout of holder Rafael Nadal.
Roger Federer will also be missing as the Swiss recovers from a pair of knee procedures in 2020.
The Open will begin on August 31, directly after the “Cincinnati” Masters to be contested this year at the Open’s venue of Flushing Meadows in a player isolation bubble in the world’s COVID hotspot..
Djokovic will get the chance to improve upon his 17 Grand Slam singles titles and also to begin rescuing his reputation after his disastrous Adria Tour in June which produced positive virus tests among several players – himself included and others (his wife and coach).
“I am happy to confirm that I will participate at the Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati) and U.S. Open this year,” the 33-year old Serb said in a statement.
“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on so many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited.
“I am aware that this time around it will be very different with all the protocols and safety measures that are put in place to protect players and the people of New York.”
Djokovic has been training in recent weeks on hardcourt at a villa in Marbella, Spain while speculation swirled about his participation,
“I have trained hard with my team and got my body in shape so I am ready to adapt to new conditions,” he said, adding:
“I’ve done all the check-ups to make sure I am fully recovered and I am ready to get back on court fully committed to playing my best tennis.
“I appreciate everyone taking time, effort and energy to organise these two events for the tennis players to go back to their working field.”
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic in US Open 2019 photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd