Djokovic likely to skip US Open and hits back at ‘ma­li­cious’ crit­ics

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Si­mon Briggs

In his first in­ter­view since the Adria Tour fi­asco, world No1 No­vak Djok- ovic has said he is likely to miss the US Open, while hit­ting out at crit­i­cism of his own event for its lack of health and safety pre­cau­tions.

Speak­ing to Sport­ski Zur­nal,

Djokovic was un­re­pen­tant about any con­se­quences that might have flowed from the lack of so­cial dis­tanc­ing at the event.

“Lately, I only see crit­i­cism, very ma­li­cious,” Djokovic said. “Some­one has to fall; some big name to be the main cul­prit for ev­ery­thing.

“I leave it to oth­ers to say if that is fair. I don’t think it is; I think that we must learn from all of this and to adapt as we go along.”

Djokovic was pho­tographed train­ing yes­ter­day with his child­hood friend Vik­tor Troicki in Bel­grade. Troicki was one of three play­ers at the Adria Tour who tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19, along with Grigor Dim­itrov and Borna Coric. Djokovic and his wife Je­lena also re­ported pos­i­tive tests, but then said that an ad­di­tional test had come back neg­a­tive 10 days later.

On his itin­er­ary, Djokovic told

Sport­ski Zur­nal: “I’m not sure I’ll play in the US Open. I plan to play Madrid, Rome and Roland Gar­ros in Septem­ber.

“I fully sup­port the United States Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion’s wish to hold tour­na­ments in Washington, Cincin­nati and the US Open,” he said, “It is very im­por­tant for the sur­vival of many ten­nis pro­fes­sion­als.

“Like ev­ery­one, we are go­ing through eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties. I don’t have that kind of pres­sure that oth­ers feel and of course I un­der­stand be­cause the vast ma­jor­ity need to play now and earn money.

“I sa­lute the efforts made to hold tour­na­ments, es­pe­cially in the USA and Europe, de­spite this big cri­sis, but there is a limit to ev­ery­thing.”

Af­ter Rafael Nadal con­firmed that he will also play the Madrid Mas­ters, and with Roger Fed­erer not play­ing again in 2020 af­ter a sec­ond bout of key­hole surgery on his knee, it ap­pears the US Open may go ahead with­out any of the men’s “big three” play­ers. If in­deed it goes ahead at all.

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