US Open - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has given his biggest hint yet that he is ready to be flexible over a return to action in America in August.

The world No 1 initially struck a sceptical tone as plans were revealed to start the US Open on schedule, but with players not being allowed to have the large travelling groups with them when they arrive in New York.

Djokovic suggested that he might not play the US Open if he was not allowed to have his full technical and coaching support team, while he was also unsure about plans to have fans located on a ‘bubble’ hotel and restricted on their movements in a bid to limit their exposure to the Covid-19 virus.

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Speaking on the Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast, Djokovic appeared to soften his stance as he suggested he was ready to be adaptable as he prepares for a return to action.

“We had to adjust to whatever is given to us,” he declared. “It’s not us making the calls; as players we have to be grateful for the opportunity to be able to play. USTA is the final decision maker for the US Open and we all know how important it is for all of us to have tournaments. Especially Grand Slams because Grand Slams are the sacred tournaments of the history of our sport. 

“We are very glad to hear that we are able to hopefully bring in more people on-site. If it’s one – it’s one; if it’s two – it’s two; if it’s three – it’s three… I guess you have to adjust and then we’ll see how that works out. 

“For me personally the most important two points are: the ability or possibility for all players around the world – whoever is by ranking deserving to be in the main draw of the US Open – to be there and to be able to compete. 

Novak Djokovic US Open

“I’m extremely happy and excited to see that all the tournaments, especially Grand Slams are organizing their events. Of course, Roland-Garros moved to different dates in the calendar and I am glad that they were able to put everything together because I know. 

“I was part of the organization of the Serbia Open 250 category… I understand the complications and the challenges that are behind tournament organizers. I can only imagine what are the proportions or dimensions and tasks of Grand Slam organizers. 

“To be able to move that to a different date and with maybe weather difficulties and all these different things. Great that we have a roof obviously on Philippe Chatrier this year. So, those are the positive things and I look forward to it. I mean it’s one of the most important and one of the nicest tournaments in the world. I always enjoy playing there and I can’t wait to go back.”

Despite his upbeat tone, Djokovic warned travel restrictions could still play a part in derailing the hopes of the game’s top stars to return to action.

“To actually be able to travel, I think, this is the most important thing,” he added. “That makes it fair for everyone and the second issue is obviously the quarantine. 

“If we are in quarantine and for two weeks, we don’t have any access to the courts and the gym and we cannot train, that’s really tough. 

“We are hoping that we are least going to have access to the court so that we can stay in shape, that once the quarantine is done, we can already start to compete.”

Djokovic joined Mats Wilander and Alex Corretja as the latest guest on Eurosport’s Tennis Legends vodcast. To watch the full episode, tune in on Thursday 25 June at 19:00 CET on Eurosport 1 and the Eurosport App. 

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