Novak Djokovic announces he'll play in US Open despite COVID-19 concerns

·3 min read

Novak Djokovic announced on Thursday that he has decided to compete in the US Open this year, despite ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Djokovic, 33, tested positive for COVID-19 in June along with his wife, Jelena. Those positive tests came after Djokovic organized a charity tennis tournament in Croatia, the Adria Tour, that operated without masks or social distancing requirements. Several players tested positive for COVID-19 after participating in the tournament. It is not known if Djokovic or his wife experienced any symptoms.

Djokovic is the only member of the Big Three who will be competing at the US Open this year. Roger Federer is out after having two surgeries on his knee, and Rafael Nadal announced last month that he decided not to compete due to concerns about COVID-19.

Novak Djokovic celebrates on the tennis court.
Novak Djokovic will compete in the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Recep Sakar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Djokovic concerned about restrictive protocols

It wasn’t certain that Djokovic would compete in the US Open this year. In June he said it would be “impossible” to compete in the US Open if “extreme” safety measures were in place. Djokovic has appeared to soften his stance on this in the two months since then, and on his website he said that he appreciates all the effort from the organizers to put on a safe event.

“During my career, I have played some of my best matches at the USTA Billie Jean King National tennis center.

I am aware that this time around it will be very different with all the protocols and safety measures that are put in place to protect players and people of NY.

Nevertheless, I have trained hard with my team and got my body in shape so I am ready to adapt to new conditions. I’ve done all the check-ups to make sure I am fully recovered and I am ready to get back on court fully committed to playing my best tennis.

I respect and appreciate everyone taking time, effort, and energy to organize these two events for the tennis players to be able to go back to their working field.

Unfortunately for the players and the game itself, the current situation is not allowing everyone to travel and compete at the same level of risk, and I hope the situation will change soon and we will all be back to doing what we love and do best.”

The US Open is scheduled to begin on Aug. 31. Prior to that, Djokovic will compete in the Western and Southern Open from Aug. 20-28. The Western and Southern Open typically takes place in Cincinnati, but this year will be staged in New York.

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