As tennis professionals ponder whether to attend the 2020 US Open, it has become apparent the highly-anticipated tournament may not feature the sport’s biggest names.
For the first time since 1999, tennis could witness a grand slam tournament without any of the Big Three on display.
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The French Open’s bizarre scheduling decision to commence its postponed tournament just seven days after the US Open and the ongoing escalation of the coronavirus pandemic in America could ruin the Flushing Meadows tournament.
Speaking to Serbian media this week, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said due to this year’s congested tennis calendar, he might not make it to the US.
Novak Djokovic contracted COVID-19 after organising the controversial Adria Tour.Source:AFP
“I’m not sure I’ll play in the US Open,” Djokovic said. “I plan to play Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros in September.
“I fully support the USTA wish to hold tournaments in Washington, Cincinnati and the US Open because it’s very important for the survival of many tennis professionals.
“Like everyone, we are going through economic difficulties.
“Personally, I don’t have that kind of pressure that the others feel.
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“And of course I understand them because the vast majority need to play now and earn money.
“I salute to the efforts being made to hold tournaments, especially in the USA and in Europe, despite this big crisis, but there is a limit to everything.”
There are also lingering concerns around whether reigning champion Rafael Nadal will be able to attend the 2020 US Open. Nadal confirmed he will also be playing in the Madrid Open, which commences one day after the US Open men’s singles final.
Así es Feli. Nos vemos en septiembre en Madrid 👋🏻💪🏻👍🏻🎾
Mientras tanto que todo vaya bien! 😷 https://t.co/wMP0rKaumE
Given the proximity to the French Open, the World No. 2 could choose to focus on reclaiming the Roland Garros title, which he has won on a record 12 occasions.
Last month, Nadal also voiced reasonable concerns about the US Open, fearing the country’s ongoing COVID-19 situation.
“Honestly if you asked me today if I want to travel to New York to play a tennis tournament, I’ll say, ‘No, I will not’,” Nadal said.
“I’m confident they’ll make the right decisions in the right moment to be sure that if the tournament is played it’s going to be under extremely safe circumstances.
“If not, it doesn’t make sense. We need to be responsible and send a clear message to society.
“Today we need to make sure and think about health and safety.”
Lastly, Swiss maestro Roger Federer will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after announcing he will need to undergo a second round of surgery on his right knee.
In June, Federer revealed he suffered a “setback” during the rehabilitation from his initial arthroscopic surgery, and will subsequently not return to the court until 2021.
“A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee,” Federer posted to Twitter.
“Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level.
“I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly, but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season.”
For the first time since World War II, Wimbledon was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the sport’s premier event was cancelled, Wimbledon reportedly received AU$226 million after purchasing pandemic insurance in 2003.
US Open officials were not as forward-thinking, and would be desperate for the Grand Slam tournament to go ahead in 2020 despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in the United States.
A record 58,190 new cases were announced in the United States on Thursday, and the number of active cases continues to grow, currently standing at over 1,608,000.
New York has hosted the US Open since 1978, but has proven a hotspot for the deadly virus, with 424,012 total cases and over 250,000 active cases.
Not only could Flushing Meadows be without several of the sport’s most popular athletes, but spectators will not be permitted to the annual event.
The absence of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic leaves the door open for a young prodigy to claim their maiden Grand Slam title. The Big Three have won every men’s singles Grand Slam title since Stan Wawrinka claimed the US Open in 2016.
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