Despite expressing reservations about the tournament, Novak Djokovic is expected to be present at the US Open, which is to be held in August. The Serb has been training on hard courts at his residence in Marbella (Spain), and he has even called for the tournament balls to practice with.
Recently, Croatian legend Nikola Pilic weighed in on the US Open debate among other things. He claimed that if Novak Djokovic were to play, he would be the overwhelming favorite at Flushing Meadows.
Would advise Novak Djokovic to play US Open if he can prepare in the right way: Nikola Pilic
As reported by tennishead, former French Open finalist Pilic believes that while the World No. 1 is not guaranteed to win the tournament in New York, he would be very hard to beat.
"Yes, Novak Djokovic would be a big favorite. But that does not mean that he will win the tournament," said Pilic.
Djokovic is yet to reveal his concrete plans regarding the US Open, and Pilic suggested that he must tread with caution even if he is the favorite - especially since competitive tennis has been absent for four months now.
"I don’t know if Novak has already decided to play in New York. You have to put on two good weeks, you must not have a bad day. Anything can happen, there are no guarantees for anything," said the Croat.
Nikola Pilic represented Yugoslavia when he was a tennis player himself, but has become a coach now. Novak Djokovic even spent time at his academy in Munich during his younger days.
Pilic also recently defended his former pupil over the controversy surrounding the Adria Tour of exhibition tournaments hosted by the Serb. The event led to four players, including the 33-year-old himself, contracting COVID-19, but Pilic believes the criticism from the media was overdone.
On the subject of the US Open, Pilic said that it would be in the interests of Djokovic to play the tournament. But the Croat added a word of caution about the uncertainty surrounding the New York Slam, given the state of the global health crisis.
“If he can train every day and has the opportunity to prepare for matches in the right way, then I would advise him to participate in the US Open," Pilic said. "Although, the question is what will happen in the next month, because there is still chaos in America when it comes to the issue of the corona epidemic."
Djokovic was in superlative form before the coronavirus-enforced break, winning the Australian Open on his way to an unbeaten record for the year. With tennis all set to restart amid the pandemic, the World No. 1 will be the bookmakers' favorite to continue dominating the competition.
US Open defending champion Rafael Nadal is expected to skip the tournament this year, which could make the Serb's task even easier.Published 30 Jul 2020, 23:00 IST