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Novak Djokovic: US Open coronavirus protocols ‘extreme’

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novak djokovic tennis

World number one Novak Djokovic has called the coronavirus safety protocols, planned in order for the US Open to take place, “extreme”.

Novak the star

The hard-court Grand Slam tournament is scheduled to start on 31 August at Flushing Meadows in New York.

“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,” said Djokovic.

“Also, we could bring one person to the club which is really impossible.”

The 33-year-old, speaking to Prva TV in his native Serbia, added: “I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”

World number two Rafael Nadal said on Thursday he currently has little desire to travel to New York to defend his US Open title.

The Spaniard does not think tournaments should restart until every single player is able to travel freely and safely.

No tour events will be staged until the end of July – at the very earliest.

Djokovic, a three-time US Open winner, added: “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.”

Analysis
Russell Fuller, tennis correspondent

This could prove to be a very significant intervention by the world number one, who is president of the ATP Player Council.

The US Tennis Association (USTA) is seeking government approval for its plans to stage the US Open behind closed doors. But a green light would not amount to much in the face of sustained opposition from players, especially the leading lights of the game.

Giving up a favoured Manhattan hotel or eating spot seem like a small price to pay for the chance to win and earn again. But given the size of the teams that travel the world with the top players, an entourage of one may prove impossible to sell.

The ATP is currently soliciting the views of their players, with the USTA expected to decide whether the US Open can go ahead in the second half of June.

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