Novak Djokovic can’t help but pat himself on the back for opting to rent a pricey private home during his stay at the US Open.
Paying what some players have described as an exorbitant rental, the expenditure would not have mattered much to a player with USD 143 million in career prize money earnings.
While other competitors are confined to a player hotel in a particularly desolate zone of Long Island about 30 minutes drive from the tennis centre, Djokovic and his team are tasting the good life – as much as possible, that is, under a personalised quarantine regime imposed on them by the USTA.
“I am really grateful that I have an opportunity to stay in the house,” the top seed said after beating Briton Kyle Edmund in four sets to reach the third round.
“As soon as there was a chance for us to choose to be in a house, we took it right away without thinking. I’m glad we did.
“Any player had that opportunity. It’s not the privilege of the top guys or girls. Anyone that wanted to spend money and
stay in the house, he or she could have done that.
“I know there’s very few players that have chosen to stay in a house, but it is a personal choice.”
But life at home is not a return to the free-and-easy lifestyle of a normal US open, where payers usually stay in Manhattan for the food and lifestyle amenities.
Djokovic has also had to pay for 24-hours security at his rental and is required – like everyone else – to undergo regular COVID-19 testing at the locked-down, no-fans event.
“Being in a hotel, you’re unable to open the window in the room. I saw the hotel, it’s not in the best position in terms of having nature around. It’s very close to the highway.
Djokovic, something of a spiritualist in his daily life, has a special tree he visits in a park during Wimbledon and has also gone to a nearby Bhuddist temple.
“Look, the USTA did what they could do, they made sure they took the entire hotel for the players. Most of them are staying there.
“But I never spent a second thinking that I can stay in a hotel when I heard that I can have a chance to stay in a house – I took it right away.”