‘Not an easy decision,’ but Djokovic will play US Open

The Serb will lend star power to a depleted field at the American hard-court Slam

Novak Djokovic

World No 1 Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he will be participating in the 2020 US Open, which will take place from August 21-September 13 behind closed doors.

Djokovic’s participation will come as a boost for the hard-court Grand Slam, since a lot of star players will be missing in action this year.

Roger Federer, rehabbing from his two knee surgeries, has said he won’t be competing this season. Meanwhile, defending champion Rafael Nadal and 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the Open due to the Covid-19 situation in the USA.

ALSO READ: US Open will be ‘worth less,’ feels Dominic Thiem

“I am happy to confirm that I will participate at the Western & Southern Open and U.S. Open this year,” the 33-year old Serb said on social media on Thursday.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on so many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited.

“I am aware that this time around it will be very different with all the protocols and safety measures that are put in place to protect players and the people of New York.”

ALSO READ: I did not want to go to the US, says Wawrinka

The US Open will be the first Grand Slam to be played since the tour was suspended in March due to the pandemic.

In June, the Serb had taken a different position, saying it would be “impossible” to compete at the US Open due to “extreme” COVID-19 protocols for the tournament.

ALSO READ: Players made to sign waivers ahead of US Open

Djokovic’s main concern was that only person would be allowed to accompany him during the fortnight, rather than the bulging entourages that follow the big names at such events.

The Serb has recovered from Coronavirus, which he, along with three other players, contracted during the Adria Tour in June.

ALSO READ: Nadal defends Djokovic on Adria Tour debacle

“I have trained hard with my team and got my body in shape so I am ready to adapt to new conditions,” Djokovic added.

“I have done all the check-ups to make sure I am fully recovered and I am ready to get back on court fully committed to playing my best tennis.

“I appreciate everyone taking time, effort and energy to organise these two events for the tennis players to go back to their working field.”

ALSO READ: Djokovic likens Adria Tour criticism to ‘witch-hunt’

Djokovic, who has been unbeaten this season, has a chance to close in on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the Grand Slam record tally.

While Federer leads the all-time list right now, with 20 majors, Nadal is close at his heels with 19. Djokovic, youngest of the Big 3, has 17 Grand Slam titles, with his most recent coming at the 2020 Australian Open.

ALSO READ: ‘Does not suit Western media that a Serbian is world’s best player’