Unlike Rafael Nadal, defending champion, world No.1 Novak Djokovic has decided to play the US Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of a tennis season completely turned upside down by the Covid pandemic. 19, and which must restart in ten days.
It was in a press release of a few paragraphs, published Thursday at midday on social networks, that Novak Djokovic confirmed his presence in New York from Saturday: first for the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, relocated to the New York bubble (August 22-28), then for the US Open (August 31-September 13).
An announcement that comes to put a little balm at the heart of the organizers, who will be deprived, for the first time since 1999, of Roger Federer, injured and who has already put an end to his season, and of Nadal.
Nadal had announced to give up the US Open, because of the health situation and the “madness” of the calendar, which provides for a sequence of two Grand Slams (US Open and Roland Garros) preceded by two Masters 1000 (Cincinnati and Rome), in the space of seven weeks. All after more than four months without playing.
If “Nole” recognizes “obstacles” and “challenges” in the face of the health situation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that his decision has not been made. easy to take, he nevertheless claims to be “enthusiastic” at the prospect of returning to competition again.
– Circuit stopped since March –
“I have trained hard with my team and I am in good shape. I am therefore ready to adapt to the new conditions “, explained” Djoko “in his press release.
The US Open will be played behind closed doors, with a strict health protocol, which notably provides for tests for the Covid- 19 for participants, before their departure for New York, upon their arrival and throughout their stay, once or twice a week.
The 33-year-old Serb had contracted the Covid-19 at the end of June on the sidelines of the Adria Tour, a charity tournament in the Balkans that he had organized and which had created controversy, with a total absence of barrier gestures: packed stadium, almost no protective mask, hugs between players, evening in a shirtless nightclub,…
Many participants, like Djokovic, had tested positive for the new coronavirus, including the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the Croatian Borna Coric and the Serbian Victor Troicki.
“I have carried out all the checks to be sure that I have I am fully recovered and I am ready to go back to the court to play my best tennis, ”Djokovic assured.
For her part, the 20-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu, winner last year, has given up defending her title at the US Open, believing that the context of the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow him to sufficiently prepare.
“After discussing with my relatives, I made the difficult decision not to return to New York this year, so I can focus on my fitness and make sure I'm ready to play again at my best, ”the current World 6th on Thursday explained Thursday.
Another defection in the US Open women's draw: French Fiona Ferro, 44th in the world, who has just won the Palermo tournament, the first event on the WTA circuit after a five-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In men the latest ATP tournaments date back to February 29 in Dubai – won by D jokovic- and Acapulco, won by Nadal, and on March 1 in Santiago (Chile).
Cancellations (the most emblematic, that of Wimbledon) in postponements (in particular Roland-Garros from the end of May to the end of September), the circuit has been at a standstill for over six months, if we put aside the few exhibitions organized here and there.
It should resume in New York in a little over a week with the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati , after the cancellation of the Washington tournament.
The men's and women's tables of the US Open have experienced a massacre in recent days in the face of the health risk: Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Ashleigh Barty (world No. 1), Elina Svitolina (N.5), Kiki Bertens (N.7) have also given up.
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