World No. 1 Novak Djokovic intends to play the Australian Open in January if the tournament goes ahead as per schedule. However, he is unsure about his plans for the ATP Cup or any other warm-up events due to the quarantine requirements of the Australian officials.
Reports from Melbourne have indicated that Tennis Australia will hold all warm-up events leading up to the Australian Open in the state of Victoria. They may also hold some events after the Grand Slam so that players won't need to cross state borders during their time in Australia.
“I hope that it will happen. I want to play the Australian Open. I’m not sure about the ATP Cup and the tournaments before that because, obviously, you have to leave quite in advance. I think two and a half or three weeks prior to the first match," Novak Djokovic said.
“From what I have heard and what I know of the latest news from Tennis Australia, the Australian Open and the rest of the tournaments will be held in Victoria, mostly in and around Melbourne," the Serb added.
As per the tentative plan, players will be required to remain in quarantine for the first two weeks after arriving in Melbourne. They are likely to be able to train during the two-week period, and allowed to move around the state of Victoria after it. That said, Australian health officials are yet to sign off on the plan.
Novak Djokovic feels that while the tournaments in Australia are likely to go ahead, there are still some doubts about the ATP Cup. The tournament was held for the first time in 2020 across three Australian cities over 10 days, but the same structure is highly unlikely amid the pandemic.
“I have not heard too many doubts about whether the tournaments will happen or not. There is going to be a quarantine of 14 days. But, obviously, we still don’t know whether we choose where we do quarantine," Novak Djokovic said.
"We don’t know whether ATP Cup is happening. Obviously, you want things to be ideal, but what is ideal in these circumstances? We just have to wait and see, I guess," he added.
We will probably have to play with a smaller crowd or no crowd at all for the next few months: Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic also gave some insight into the possible tournament calendar after the Australian circuit, stating that the tournaments in the Middle East are likely to take place.
As per the usual ATP calendar, the Doha ATP event is held in the first week of January while the Dubai Tennis Championships takes place in the last week of February. With the tour likely to necessitate a bio-bubble being created in Australia in the first month of the season, it remains to be seen if the Doha and Dubai events will take place at a later date.
"I heard that the Middle East tournaments are going to happen. I sincerely hope everything will happen as normal. We can expect to play with a smaller crowd or maybe no crowd at all, at least for the next couple of months," the World No. 1 said.
Novak Djokovic, who is spearheading the Professional Tennis Players Association initiative, also appreciated the fact that Tennis Australia officials are regularly updating the players about the plans for the tournament.
"I think they have been terrific in communicating and representing players and trying to fight for the best possible conditions that could be available to us under the circumstances," said Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic is currently in London for the season-ending ATP Finals, where he won his first match on Monday over Diego Schwartzman in straight sets. He will meet Daniil Medvedev in his second group match on Wednesday.Published 17 Nov 2020, 18:49 IST