Several lower-ranked tennis players have hit out at Novak Djokovic’s suggestion that he would give this year’s US Open a miss as limiting members of his staff that travel with him would be impossible for him.
British player Dan Evans highlighted that only a few top players have an entourage travelling with them during Grand Slams and most players would be willing to accept safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic that prevent a set number of people from travelling with the player.
Women’s World No 52 Danielle Collins called out Djokovic’s hypocrisy after previously having offered financial help for tennis players ranked outside the top 100.
“This is a serious contradiction to previous comments about having players … inside the top 100 donate money to players outside of the top 250,” Collins wrote to Djokovic online.
“No one has been able to play sanctioned events or make money since February. Here we have an awesome opportunity with the US Open talking about proceeding forward with the event, with some strict safety precautions to make sure all players feel safe and their health is put first.
“This is a massive opportunity for players to start making money again, and here we have the top player in the world saying only being able to bring one person with (him) will be too difficult be able to bring his entourage,” she added.
The Serbian had said that he would focus on playing at French Open instead of the US Open, but Collins felt the big players needed to support the big tournaments like the US Open to help the ecosystem.
“It’s easy when someone’s made $US150 million throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open,” she said.
“For those of us (most tennis players) who don’t travel with an entourage, we actually need to start working again. It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for the players and the fans!” she added.
All ATP and WTA events have been suspended since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic while the French Open has been postponed to September. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since 1945 due to the pandemic.