Novak Djokovic & ATP Player Council to give verdict on radical US Open changes

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Rudra Biswas
Modified 12 Jun 2020

Novak Djokovic recently hinted that he might skip the US Open and instead resume his season on European clay. Djokovic believes the restrictions proposed by the USTA officials are too extreme, and would prevent the players from preparing adequately.

As per Marca, a virtual meeting was convened by the ATP a few hours ago to address the issue. More than 500 players - both singles and doubles, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal - as well as several top executives, are believed to have attended the meeting.

Several players like Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson, the last of whom is in the Player Council along with Novak Djokovic, spoke during the meeting through video. However, there was reportedly no consensus over the proposed US Open changes, which are set to be made official by 15 June.

In recent weeks, Novak Djokovic has repeatedly pointed out how the COVID-19 ravaged American subcontinent is not fit for play. The Serb has also spoken about how the 14-day quarantine period and limited team personnel (only one can travel with the player, as per the new restrictions) would have a negative impact on the players.

Many of the players in attendance shared Novak Djokovic's sentiment of not wanting to travel to New York for the US Open, as America continues to grapple with the growing coronavirus cases.

Novak Djokovic's Player Council to take a decision soon

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The US Open suffered a big blow on Wednesday, as Roger Federer announced he would skip the remainder of the 2020 season. Having already lost one of its biggest champions, the tournament would be hugely concerned about Novak Djokovic's inclination to resume his season on European clay.

The ranking points at the US Open are reportedly a massive issue, with several players wanting them to be voided since their participation is under question. There is immense pressure on the ATP to remove the points, but due to contractual obligations, that might not be as easy as it seems.

During the meeting, some players echoed Rafael Nadal's sentiment of restarting the season in 2021, while others called for an immediate return with ranking points.

The ATP Players Council consisting of Novak Djokovic, Kevin Anderson, Vasek Pospisil and Gilles Simon, among others, is expected to announce its position on the matter soon. The ATP players are clearly trying to put up a united front to safeguard their interests, which would put additional pressure on the US Open organizers.

Doubles draw to be reduced from 64 to 24 pairs, proposes USTA

The meeting, which was spearheaded by tennis executives like ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP executive director Massimo Calvelli and US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster, saw several radical changes being discussed.

It was proposed that the qualifying competition not be played, and that the doubles draw be reduced from 64 to 24 pairs in order to avoid huge crowds at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. With social distancing norms needing to be followed strictly, reducing the number of competitions could make the organizers' job easier.

A depleted field at the US Open is a given at this point of time, with top players like Novak Djokovic and 2019 champion Rafael Nadal not sure of their participation. It remains to be seen whether the other players would be on-board with the new restrictions and guidelines being considered.

Published 11 Jun 2020
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