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Djokovic, others kick against 2020 US Open guidelines

By News Desk

World number one, Novak Djokovic, Raphael Nadal, and other tennis players have described the strict hygiene restrictions introduced by organisers of 2020 US Open as extreme and really impossible for players to meet.

As doubts grow over whether or not the Grand Slam event can go ahead as scheduled in New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Djokovic, and other players admitted the demands of organisers could create severe strain.

Djokovic, champion at the US Open in 2011, 2015, and 2018, described planned limits on player entourages as really impossible.

The Serbian, in an interview with newsmen on Friday, said: “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. The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme.”

“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.

“All their suggestions are really rigorous but I can understand that due to financial reasons, due to already existing contracts, organisers (want the event to be) held. We will see what will happen.”

Earlier, women’s world number one, Ashleigh Barty also voiced caution about resuming tennis too soon, saying she needed more information before committing to the US Open.

“It’s exciting that tennis is being talked about again and things are moving in the right direction for us to start competing. But I’d need to understand all of the information and advice from the WTA and the USTA before making a decision on the US events.”

Nadal, who won a fourth US Open in 2019, said that if the New York showpiece was being staged this week, he would not play.

“We cannot resume until the situation is completely safe and fair in terms of health in that all players, wherever they come from, can travel and play tournaments in safe conditions,” Nadal told reporters in a video conference call.

“If you told me to play the US Open today, I would say ‘no’. In a few months, I don’t know. I hope so. We have to wait for people to return to normal life. And when it does, wait to see how the virus evolves.”

The tennis tour has been in cold storage since mid-March and will not resume until late July at the earliest.

Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II, while the French Open has been shifted from May-June to September-October.


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