Men’s tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic will reportedly decide in the “next few days” if he will play in the 2020 US Open.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has already withdrawn from the New York grand slam, which starts on 31 August, after citing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sky Sports reports that Australian duo Nick Kyrgios and Ashleigh Barty, the women’s world No.1, will also miss the event because of the coronavirus while Roger Federer is out as he recovers from knee surgery.
Djokovic, a three-time US Open champion, is still on the official entry list but the 17-time grand slam winner is yet to make a final call.
Serbian journalist Saša Ozmo tweeted: “Novak Djokovic still hasn’t made a decision in regard to his participation at the #USOpen. Decision in the next few days.”
Nadal needs one more grand slam title to equal Federer’s record of 20, but the Spaniard says the current “circumstances” forced him to take the decision of opting against travelling to the United States.
He wrote on Instagram: “After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.
“All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
Tennis365’s Kevin Palmer says the US Open is “rapidly developing into a farce” and Nadal’s decision will “send shock waves through the sport”.
He wrote: “Nadal should not be criticised for expressing concerns about going to a country where the virus is increasing at a rapid rate and, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appears to have done all he can to halt the spread in his state, the prospect of travelling to America at this time cannot be appealing to any of the game’s biggest stars in Europe.
“With international travel still such a major headache at a time when the virus is bubbling up with menace once more, a sport that requires stars to converge from all corners of the world for one and two-week events might struggle to find a way to function.”