The fate of the tennis calendar still hangs in the balance. With Wimbledon already cancelled and the clay season including the French Open postponed to late September, there is huge uncertainty right now over the US Open. And tennis' evergreen troublemaker Nick Kyrgios has given the fans just what they needed to spice things up even more, by publicly asking Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to voice their opinion on the matter.
The erstwhile final Slam of the year, which will now be held before the rescheduled French Open, has seen several calls for cancellation from the sport's biggest stars. The concerns over the increasing cases of coronavirus in the United States, and particularly in New York (where the tournament is held), have been getting more vocal with each passing day.
The USTA has been putting in massive efforts to ensure the tournament goes through and that the safety standards are to the satisfaction of all players, the media and the ITF. But that would entail some drastic changes in the rules and regulations at the event, including the reduction of player entourages to just one person.
Most vocal in the criticism of the USTA's proposals have been the top two players of the world - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. While Novak Djokovic suggested he might skip the US Open owing to the "extreme conditions", Nadal also expressed safety concerns over travelling to New York.
Roger Federer, meanwhile, has already announced that he will not be returning to the tour this year owing to knee issues. If all three of the biggest stars in the sport miss the tournament, it would add to the USTA's existing woes and put the tournament's position in jeopardy.
The ATP Player Council President Novak Djokovic also invoked the Council's role to decide whether the players would agree to the proposed US Open changes.
The ever-controversial Nick Kyrgios, who was surprisingly silent on the issue all this while, has now posed a direct question to tennis' Big 3, asking their opinion on whether the tournament should go ahead at all.
The mercurial Australian took to Twitter to pose the question to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
While at first this seemed like another one of Nick Kyrgios' attempts at rabble-rousing, the Australian clarified that it was a serious question and a genuine effort to seek out the Big 3's opinion.
Nick Kyrgios agrees with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on holding of the US Open
Nick Kyrgios further elucidated that he's on the same page as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in this regard. He believes the US Open should not go ahead given the overall extreme conditions and tensions in the country right now, even if one were to ignore the pandemic.
Nick Kyrgios mentioned the ongoing "Black Lives Matter" protests and related tensions in the United States, and expressed concerns over how safe it would be to travel to the country right now.
The outspoken Aussie also branded the ATP and the USTA as 'selfish'; Nick Kyrgios feels they are putting tennis over the bigger challenges that society is fighting.
However, it is worth noting that while the top ranked players are disgruntled about the tournament being held, the lower ranked tennis players do want the Slam to go ahead as per schedule.
American World No.87 Danielle Collins thinks that cancelling the tournament would take away a sizable earning opportunity from the lower ranked players; the American ripped into Novak Djokovic for suggesting that the US Open should be cancelled.
The divide among the players is clear. It will be interesting to see whether the USTA succumbs to the top stars' demands and cancels the US Open, or pays heed to the wider but less influential majority by going ahead with the Slam.Published 11 Jun 2020, 14:22 IST