Novak Djokovic Talks Issues of Holding US Open Amid ‘Extreme’ COVID-19 Protocols

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during the final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

The U.S. Open is set to begin on Aug. 31, but Novak Djokovic is concerned about conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme,” the No. 1 men’s player in the world told Prva TV, via ESPN.com. “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.

“Also, we could bring one person to the club, which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”

Much of the 2020 tennis season was suspended due to COVID-19 but the U.S. Open will be the first Grand Slam played when the sport returns.

Wimbledon has been canceled while Roland Garros was postponed until September. All ATP and WTA events have been suspended through at least July.

The U.S. Open remains on track to take place as scheduled despite the expanse of coronavirus in the United States compared to the rest of the world.

More than 110,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19 as of Monday, per CNN.com, twice as many as any other country. New York state, which hosts the Grand Slam event, has had more than 30,000 deaths due to the virus.

Djokovic suggested organizers are only going forward with the tournament for money.

“They want the tournament to go ahead at any cost for economic reasons, which I understand,” he said. “But the question is, how many players are willing to accept those terms?”

The 33-year-old has little to prove with a resume that already includes 79 tournament wins, including 17 Grand Slams and three U.S. Open titles. 

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