Novak Djokovic: US Open rules for coronavirus ‘extreme,’ ‘impossible’


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said the health and safety protocols to play in the U.S. Open are “extreme.”Djokovic pointed to the hotel accommodations, frequent testing, and limited traveling parties, calling the rules “impossible.”British tennis player Dan Evans disputed Djokovic’s claims, saying only the most elite in tennis would be traveling with several coaches, trainers, and physiotherapists, as Djokovic said.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Monday cast doubt about the ability to play the U.S. Open during the coronavirus pandemic.The U.S. Open is slated to be the first Grand Slam to be played during the pandemic, with the French Open moved to late September and Wimbledon cancelled.While speaking to Serbia’s Prva TV, Djokovic said the rules are “extreme” and will make it “impossible to play.””The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme,” Djokovic said. “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.”

Novak Djokovic.

Michel Euler/AP Images

The U.S. Open has not publicly released its protocols.”They want the tournament to go ahead at any cost for economic reasons, which I understand,” Djokovic said. “But the question is, how many players are willing to accept those terms?”Djokovic’s concerns may only apply to the most elite in tennis. British tennis player Dan Evans, ranked 28th in the world, told the BBC that not many players have a traveling party to tournaments.”The majority of the draw would only travel with one coach,” Evans said. “Not everyone’s travelling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.”

During the 2019 U.S. Open, Djokovic had his own trailer with an oxygen chamber parked near the premises for his exclusive use, according to The Daily Mail. As tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg noted, “The Big 3” of men’s tennis has been able to dominate, in part, because of the resources they’ve been able to dedicate to training, nutrition, and recovery. Few other players have those same means.According to the BBC, the ATP and U.S. Tennis Association are still reaching out to players to discuss the viability of holding the U.S. Open in late August, as scheduled.LoadingSomething is loading.



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