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"I'm not happy" - Novak Djokovic hits out at 'inconsistencies' in COVID-19 protocols at USO

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Namit Kumar
Modified 06 Sep 2020, 01:46 IST

Novak Djokovic kicked up a storm when he resigned from his position as the president of the ATP Players' Council, to form a separate players' union known as the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players' Association).

Since then, the Serb has found himself surrounded by questions about governance and player interests whenever he has made a public appearance. Recently, the World No. 1 also spoke out against the 'inconsistencies' in the quarantine rules at the US Open.

The new player association has been formed exactly for these circumstances: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic (L) and Guido Pella at the 2013 French Open
Novak Djokovic (L) and Guido Pella at the 2013 French Open

Novak Djokovic has hit out at the USTA's treatment of players who test positive and/or have been in contact with a positive case. The Serb claimed that these situations are precisely why the PTPA was created.

After Benoit Paire tested positive for COVID-19, he was forced to withdraw from the US Open. The French players who were in contact with him (reportedly as many as 11) were made to stay in a bubble inside the bubble, but were not made to withdraw.

According to Novak Djokovic, this treatment is remarkably different from that of Guido Pella and Hugo Dellien, who were made to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open at Flushing Meadows last week after their trainer tested positive for the virus.

"I’m not happy with the way this situation with the French players was managed," said Novak Djokovic. "I’m not happy to see that Dellien and Pella were in a very similar situation and were withdrawn from the tournament and they had to be quarantined in their room."
"Benoit is quarantined, he’s out of the tournament, and then all the other guys they were close to him during this time, they were allowed to play. So a lot of inconsistencies," he added.

Adrian Mannarino, one of the players who was in contact with Paire, was initially disallowed from playing his third round match against Alexander Zverev on Friday. Their match was eventually delayed by 3 hours, after which Mannarino was finally allowed to take the court.

The Serb claimed that he attempted to reach someone as high as the mayor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, to reverse the Mannarino decision. He further criticized the lack of clearly defined bubble restrictions put in place by the USTA.

"Players I think are left with very little information and very little power to express themselves or to fight for their own right to play and to travel back home," said Novak Djokovic.
"The player association that has been formed a week ago is exactly supposed to live and supposed to exist because of these kind of circumstances," explained the Serb.
"We need to stand by the players that are not treated in a right way and we have to do it all together. That’s the whole point. Hopefully the association can grow stronger and we can have that power to actually give the support in the future to the players."
Published 06 Sep 2020, 01:46 IST
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