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Djokovic will go to the US Open, after all


FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2018 photo, Novak Djokovic breaks Juan Martín del Potro’s serve in the final of the US Open in New York.

AP Photo

The Big Three will have representation at the US Open, after all. Novak Djokovic announced Thursday that he will compete in the Grand Slam tournament, as in the previous contest, on the same hard court in New York.

Djokovic initially criticized the sanitary protocols that the American Tennis Association established due to the coronavirus pandemic, with measures such as minimizing the number of companions of the players. The Serbian star came to question his participation.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and requirements on the part of so many sides,” said the current world number one, who tested positive for COVID-19 in June. “But the idea of ​​racing again excites me. ”.

The US Open will start on August 31, without allowing the presence of the public. Prior to it, the Western & Southern Open – the ATP Masters and WTA Premier Series competition often staged in Cincinnati – will be played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, beginning August 22. .

Djokovic has won three of his 17 Grand Slam titles at the US Open, and has finished runner-up five times.

By saying present at the US Open this year, Djokovic will be able to narrow the gap that separates him from the other men with the most Grand Slam titles: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Federer, owner of 20 championships, will not play for the rest of 2020 after undergoing a couple of surgeries on his right knee. Nadal, who has 19 titles in the big events and the current champion in New York, resigned from the US Open when he did not feel comfortable having to travel in the middle of the pandemic.

Djokovic was one of several people – including his wife; one of his coaches, Goran Ivanisevic; and other players – who contracted the coronavirus during a series of exhibitions he organized in Serbia and Croatia during the suspension of professional tours

At the exhibitions, in which Djokovic raised funds for those affected by the pandemic, the stands were packed with the public, and the players chatted with those present and with each other off the court. The so-called Adria Tour was eventually canceled.

Shortly before, when he was in Spain in May, Djokovic broke the quarantine ordered by local authorities by training at a tennis club a week before it was allowed.

“I am aware that this is going to be very different, with all the protocols and controls to protect the players and the population of NY,” Djokovic said in a statement released Thursday. “In any case, I have trained hard with my I am physically fit to adapt to the new conditions. All the tests have been done to ensure that I am fully recovered and ready to go back to the courts in order to play my best tennis. “

Djokovic is 18-0 this season, including his breakthrough at the Australian Open in early February. That was the only Grand Slam tournament that could be completed this year. The French Open was postponed in May, rescheduled to start on September 27, two weeks after the US Open final. Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years.