Dominic Thiem has at least some faith that the US Open will be played despite the huge COVID-19 flare-up in the US, with the ATP No. 3 also committing to the run-up Cincinnati Masters.
The Austrian laid out his plan of attack to ORF television, as American organisera work against the odds to try and get their closed-door event up and running in a country where politics is dictating the weak and inefficient virus response.
The US is closing in on a staggering 130,000 deaths and accounts for a quarter of the world’s fatalities from COVID.
Thiem, losing finalist at January’s Australian Open to Novak Djokovic, remains hopeful that the Grand Slam will come to pass in a controlled bubble for players with no public or media present on site in New York.
“Of course security comes first, that’s very clear,” the 26-year-old said. “We must follow the decisions of the governments of the host countries.
“If they see a danger, they wo n’t allow the tournament, especially a big tournament like the US Open in New York.
“I think a decision will be made in the next few days. If it is certain, we all hope that it goes on. “
The ATP circuit was shut down cold in early March when the virus began to take hold around the world and while now almost under control in Europe is running at a fearful pace in the free-for-all US.
The Tour is meant to resume in Washington in mid-August, to be followed by Cincinnati and the Open before shifting to a one-off European clay mini-season.
While Thiem believes that the Washington date is shaky at best, he’s more confident about Cincy and the Grand Slam: “I’m sure Cincinnati in New York and New York will be there.”
“(Of course) it’s a lot more fun with spectators, but we have now mostly played without spectators and it is better that the tournaments take place.
“If this has to be the case in the near future to guarantee the safety of everyone, then you have to deal with it.”
Thiem has been playing a full exhibition schedule during the tennis shutdown, competing at the UTS in France, Djokovic’s ill-fated, virus-hotbed Adria Cup and has his own Thiem’s 7 tournament next week in Kitzbuehel.
He will then play a men’s and women’s exhibition in Berlin.
“I’ll take another week off (after Berlin) and then I’ll know if the US Open and Cincinnati are going to take place,” he said.
“If so, I’ll do a lot of preparation to be ready there and if not, then I’ll have to reorganise anyway, “