On Monday the world of men’s tennis will learn what the remainder of the 2020 season could look like when the United States Tennis Association make their announcement.
June 15th is set to be the day where it will be confirmed if this year’s US Open will go ahead and what rules will be in place. Over recent months there have been concerns about whether or not the event should get underway in a place that has been the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. According to latest official figures, the state of New York has recorded over 209,000 cases with 17,000 deaths.
The conundrum has left newly appointed tournament director Stacey Allaster with three options :-
- The US Open and the Masters 1000 to be played at Flushing Meadows, but this would require the cancellation of the qualifying tournament and the downsizing of the doubles draw to 24 couples;
- The cancellation of Cincinnati with the US Open maintaining the qualifying draw and a full-size doubles event;
- The cancellation of both Cincinnati and the US Open.
It is still to be confirmed what option the USTA are leaning towards, but they are desperate to hold their premier event given the current financial difficulties. It is unknown if fans will be able to attend the tournament or not, but they still have various TV and sponsorship deals at stake. But if it does get the green light, how many top names on the men’s tour will be on board?
Here is a collection of the views from some stars of the men’s tour.
The top 10
Novak Djokovic (world No.1)
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic has been one of the most high-profile players on the tour to admit he has doubts about playing in New York. The Serbian, who is also the president of the ATP Players Council, said the possible measures that could be in place may be problematic for him. In his view, one of the most troublesome is the idea of allowing just one member of a player’s team to be on site with them. Instead, he has hinted that he may choose to concentrate on the clay this year.
“For me at the moment, as things stand, the most realistic is that the season will continue on clay, in early September.” Djokovic told RTS on June 6th about his potential US Open plans. “Madrid, Rome, probably some more tournaments before Roland Garros.’
“Of course, we would all like to return to the court as soon as possible, to play tournaments. Before the US Open and the US Open itself. I hope that will happen, but there must simply be some kind of compromise and agreement between the players and the organizers. Will it happen? We will see.”
Rafael Nadal (world No.2)
As the reigning champion Rafael Nadal has 2000 points to defend, so any decision to miss the US Open will be a costly one. On June 6th the Spaniard was asked if he would play at the US Open if it was taking place today, which he said no to. During a recent online press conference with members of the International Tennis Writers Association, Nadal said he was ‘confident’ that the USTA would make the right decision without committing to playing or not.
“It’s not an ideal situation. If you asked me today if I wanted to travel to New York and play I would say no,” Nadal said. “But in a couple of months I don’t know how the situation will improve. Hopefully it will be in the right way. I’m sure the people who organise the event, the USTA, want a safe event.’
“I am confident that they will make the right decision at the right moment. To be sure that if the tournament is going to be played, it will be under safe circumstances. If not, in my opinion, it doesn’t make sense. We need to be responsible.”
Dominic Thiem (No.3)
Australian Open runner-up Dominic Thiem is sticking to the cautious side before committing to playing. The Austrian was knocked out in the first round of the US Open last year. Speaking to reporters in Belgrade, where he is playing in the Adria Tour, Thiem said there should be changes first before the event goes ahead.
“All of these circumstances are pretty tough,” the world No.3 said. “So I think some circumstances will have to change (for it to) make sense to go there,” the 26-year-old Austrian said.
Roger Federer (No.4) – has ended 2020 season due to injury
Daniil Medvedev (No.5)
Has made no public comment about playing at the US Open or not. The only time he touched on the topic was during a French-speaking interview with We Love Tennis where he said he doesn’t believe the dominance of the Big Three will be ended if the Tour resumed later this year. Medvedev was runner-up at the US Open to Rafael Nadal last season.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (No.6)
The Greek tennis sensation says a big sticking point for him is the prospect of playing the grand slam without an audience. An option reportedly being considered due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place. Speaking to Greek journalist Vicky Georgatou during an interview for sdna.gr, Tsitsipas argues the Tour shouldn’t restart until things ‘are back to normal.’
“My personal view is that it is important to have these tournaments with people and not in front of empty stands,” he said. “For me, they have to wait until things get normal again, get back to the pace we were before and not think about the financial part, which is definitely the biggest factor. For example, in the US Open there are a lot of sponsors, a lot of financial interests and that’s why I think they want the tournament to take place. And I totally understand that, but for me it’s important to wait until we get back to normal and do everything in the ideal way, without there being such big changes that we’re not used to playing with.”
Alexander Zverev (No.7)
Germany’s top player told Sport Klub this weekend that the tournament should not be going ahead based on the current circumstances. Alexander Zverev has concerns that the restrictions are going to make it too hard for player’s to perform at their best abilities. He is yet to progress beyond the fourth round of the tournament.
“With how it is right now, if it stays like that with the quarantine times, only being able to take one person (to the site), having to stay in one hotel and not being able to use the showers on site. It’s tough to play a grand slam because everything at a grand slam has to be perfect,” he said.
“I’m not sure a lot of player’s are for it right now, but the USTA has to decide.’
“In my opinion with how it is now we should not be playing.”
Matteo Berrettini (No.8)
It was at the US Open last year where Matteo Berrettini made his major breakthrough on the tour. It was at the tournament where he became only the second Italian man in history to reach the semi-final stage. A milestone that helped elevate him inside the world’s top 10 for the first time. Unlike others, Berrettini seems to already be planning to travel to New York if it goes ahead.
“If in the next few days we will have certainties about the restart, there will be over two months to prepare for the US Open, so I don’t see any difficulty,” he told Corriere Dello Sport. “Rather, the problem will be to quickly regain the rhythm of the game. Of course, in Flushing Meadows I will have to defend many points, it will not be the ideal situation.”
Gael Monfils (No.9)
The Frenchman hasn’t publicly commented on this subject, but has previously stated his intention to play at his home grand slam. Which is set to take place shortly after Flushing Meadows. Monfils has reached the quarter-finals or better at the US Open three times.
David Goffin (No.10)
The Belgian joins Monfils and Medvedev in dodging questions about if he would play at the US Open or not. However, during a recent interview with RTL he said that playing behind closed doors would be different. He has also retuned to training and will be playing in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) in France.
“Of course it will not be the same thing at all because we live with the public and the public gives us energy. And sometimes, that’s what makes me better and that’s it that we love too. Now we will see. Even if we can play matches behind closed doors, there will still be this tension of wanting to do well, of wanting to win the match. But it will not be the same anyway.”
How other player’s have reacted
“Until I know more it is very hard to comment on it because there are so many moving parts. Also if you think about it, it is changing by the day and by the minute. So if something is valid about a week ago, right now it is completely different rules. I think once a decision is set I feel that I can comment more on it.”
Grigor Dimitrov to Sport Klub
“The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead. Selfish with everything going on at the moment. Obviously Covid, but also with the riots, together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion.”
Nick Kyrgios wrote on Twitter on June 11th.
“I do not agree with certain measures. There are players for whom the physical trainer is very important, like the physiotherapist. Limiting the staff to only one coach seems to me to be a measure that will be difficult to pass. In any case, I will not accept it. Even if the tournament puts a physiotherapist at your disposal, not having your physiotherapist with you at the hotel is not possible.”
Roberto Bautista Agut to Eurosport
“If you look to the current environment in America right now, both with COVID and the riots, it’s probably not the most conducive conditions. Obviously the USTA, they have an objective and that is to try and play it at all costs. I understand their predicament. But for me, that timeframe looks a little unlikely.”
John Millman to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I don’t think having one person of your team only allowed is such a big deal – the majority of the draw would only travel with one coach. Not everyone’s travelling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.”
Dan Evans to Radio 5 Live.
Updated Entry Lists For Vienna And Nur-Sultan
The indoor season continues on the ATP World Tour with the Erste Bank Open in Austria and the new Astana Open in Kazakhstan.
The Erste Bank Open in Vienna is an ATP 500 and one of the biggest events of the hard-court indoor season. Having a prize money of $ 1.409.510, it regularly shows a very high-level entry list. This year, seven of the top-10 players are committed to play, as Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are just some of the stars in the entry list. Word’s number one Novak Djokovic has received a Wild-Card and will compete as well. John Isner and Fabio Fognini have withdrawn from the main draw.
With the Swiss Indoors Basel cancelled for this year, the Astana Open, an ATP 250 tournament, will be the second event of the week. France’s Benoit Paire, Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and USA’s Tennys Sandgren will be some of the main draw’s seeds. Richard Gasquet, Laslo Djere and Juan Ignacio Londero have pulled out and they have been replaced by Federico Delbonis, Radu Albot and Egor Gerasimov.
NEWS: Matteo Berrettini and Milos Raonic have withdrawn from Vienna; Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz have replaced them. Jannik Sinner has pulled out from qualifying.
NEWS: Jannik Sinner has been given a Wild-Card in the main draw of Vienna.
ATP 500 Vienna (AUT, Hard indoor), entry list:
Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
OUT Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Goffin, David (BEL)
Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
OUT Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Coric, Borna (CRO)
Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Nishikori, Kei (PR, JPN)
Anderson, Kevin (PR, RSA)
WC Djokovic, Novak (SRB)
WC Novak, Dennis (AUT)
WC Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
SE Evans, Daniel (GBR)
IN De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
IN Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
IN Fritz, Taylor (USA)
IN Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
IN Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Alt.1 Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Alt.2 Evans, Daniel (GBR)
ATP 500 Vienna, Qualifying:
OUT Fritz, Taylor (USA) OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL) OUT Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER) OUT Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
OUT Cilic, Marin (CRO)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Edmund, Kyle (GBR)
OUT Querrey, Sam (USA)
ALT Sachko, Vitaliy (UKR)
ALT Ram, Rajeev (USA)
IN Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
IN Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
OUT Lopez, Feliciano (ESP) OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
OUT Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
IN Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
IN Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
IN Balasz, Attila (HUN)
OUT Novak, Dennis (AUT)
IN Giron, Marcos (USA)
IN Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO)
OUT Istomin, Denis (UZB)
OUT Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
Alt.1 Diez, Steven (CAN)
Alt.2 Ferreira Silva, Frederico (POR)
Alt.3 Broady, Liam (GBR)
ATP 250 Nur-Sultan (KAZ), entry list:
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Gasquet, Richard (FRA) OUT Andujar, Pablo (ESP) OUT Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Verdasco, Fernando (ESP)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
OUT Londero, Juan Ignacio (ARG)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Djere, Laslo (SRB)
WC Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
WC Popko, Dmitry (KAZ)
WC Skatov, Timofey (KAZ)
IN Albot, Radu (MDA)
IN Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
IN McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
IN Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
IN Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)
Alt.1 Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Alt.2 Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Alt.3 Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
ATP 250 Nur-Sultan, Qualifying:
OUT Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Dzumhur, Damir (BIH)
Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
Polmans, Marc (AUS)
OUT Jung, Jason (TPE)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Safwat, Mohamed (EGY)
Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
OUT Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
IN Istomin, Denis (UZB)
OUT Diez, Steven (CAN)
OUT Ymer, Elias (SWE)
IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)
OUT Lestienne, Constant (FRA)
Alt.1 Purcell, Max (AUS)
‘I Love Tennis Because Of Him’ – Argentine Football Sensation Praises Roger Federer
The forward for Juventus F.C. Speaks out about the 20-time Grand Slam champion as well as other topics concerning the world of tennis.
Roger Federer is used to various public figures praising him for his record-breaking career with his latest compliment coming from a star of Argentinian football.
Paulo Dybala, who has played for Serie A club Juventus since 2015, says he always tries to watch tennis because of him. The 26-year-old spoke out about the Swiss Maestro during a video Q and A session with the Tennis Channel for whom he is currently an ‘athlete analyst’ for. When asked ‘who was the player that made you fall in love with the game?’ he replied with Federer.
“Well at home, we used to watch a lot of sports, the TV was always on, and the sport we watched the most was football, followed by tennis,” Dybala said. “I always had a lot of admiration and respect. I liked Roger Federer’s style… I believe that I and many people have him as a tennis reference. We try to watch his matches, he has a style and elegance that makes everyone want to be like him. I always tried to watch him play so I love tennis because of him.”
Although Federer isn’t the only tennis player to have drawn praise from Dybala, who was part of his country’s national football team for the 2018 World Cup. He also speaks about his ‘great relationship’ with Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman recently broke into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open.
“I have a great relationship with Diego, I have known him for years,” he said. “We always talk and I am very happy with what he is achieving.’
“I text him after some of his matches to congratulate him for what he has done.”
It was at the French Open this year where Rafael Nadal won the tournament for a historic 13th time in his career after defeating Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Dybala says that there are ‘no words’ to describe the latest achievement by the world No.2.
“Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros in a match in which he gave no chance to Novak Djokovic,” Dybala reflected. “I think it was more than well-deserved to win his 13th Roland Garros in his career. Something amazing. He matched Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slams. There are no words for this player, no words.”
Dybala is currently dating Oriana Sabatini who is the niece of 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini.
Dan Evans On The Look Out For New Coach
The 30-year-old has come to a surprise decision to end his current coaching agreement despite achieving a career ranking high earlier this year.
British No.1 Dan Evans is making a big change to his team after confirming that he will part ways with coach Mark Hilton at the end of the season.
The world No.35 reunited with Hilton just last year after also previously working with him prior to his drugs ban in 2017. Under his guidance Evans has achieved several wins over top 10 players, reached his first ever semi-final of an ATP 500 event in Dubai and peaked at a ranking best of 28th in March.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Mark for his work and efforts over the past 12 months and we are both excited for what is next for each of our respective careers,” Evans said.
Evans’ announcement came on the same day he ended his five-match losing streak on the Tour. In the first round of the European Open on Tuesday he defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in three sets. Making it his first win since the US Open when he defeated Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.
Hilton will now return to working for the British LTA. A former player himself he reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Wimbledon boys doubles championships and peaked at a ranking high of 202 on the ATP Tour in singles. His best performance at a Grand Slam occurred at Wimbledon when as a wild card he stunned Spain’s Albert Costa in the first round of the 2004 tournament. Besides Evans, he has also previously worked with the likes of Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund.
“After discussing our plans for 2021, Dan and I have made the mutual decision to part ways at the end of November,” Hilton said in a statement.
“Both of us are very proud of our collaboration this year, helping Dan achieve a career-high ranking of number 28, seven wins over top-20 players and reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final.
“I’m looking forward to taking the experience I have gained over the last three years at the highest levels of the ATP Tour and re-investing that back into the LTA’s Performance Team for the benefit of our British players and coaches.”
It is unclear as to who may step in as Evans’ next coach. The Brit will return to action on Wednesday when he plays Frances Tiafoe in the second round.
Evans’ win-loss for 2020 currently stands at 14-11 on the ATP Tour.
Daniel Evans saves a match point to beat Karen Khachanov in Antwerp
Alexander Zverev moves one step closer to win his second Cologne title
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Jannik Sinner digs deep to beat Gilles Simon in the Cologne quarter finals
Andy Murray’s ‘Tennis In 2020’ Caption Praised By Rising Star Gauff
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is close to his best. Sinner will be in the Top 10 within a year”
Andy Murray Outlines Next Steps Following Cologne Defeat
Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal
COMMENT: Rafa At His Best Was Way Too Much For Novak To Handle
‘Completely Sick’ Alexander Zverev Reveals He Had Been Suffering From A Fever After French Open Exit
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Flink: “Zverev wasted the lead, but Thiem would have been more affected by a loss”
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