World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he nearly skipped the US Open, but the 17-time Grand Slam winner told the New York Times he plans to be back in action in the tournament as Novak Djokovic chasing Roger Federer’s record 20 Slam singles mark titles despite Coronavirus concerns in part to go-for Tennis history.
- Novak Djokovic arrives in New York.
- Novak Djokovic chasing Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slam mark was ‘of course’ a major factor to be back playing in US Open 2020.
- Djokovic defends Adria Tour.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam singles winner, told the New York Times that going to catch Roger Federer’s men’s record 20 Slam crowns was a major factor in his decision to be back in play the Flushing Meadows fortnight that begins August 31.
Chasing Tennis history
“One of the reasons why I keep on playing professional tennis on this level is because I want to reach more heights in the tennis world,” Novak Djokovic chasing Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam mark told the newspaper about his intentions.
The 33-year-old Serbian has won five of the last seven men’s singles Slam titles but came to the New York hardcourts only after assurances from European officials.
“I was very close to not coming,” said Djokovic, who made the final decision to play the US Open less than a week before arriving in New York. “There were a lot of uncertainties.”
Novak Djokovic is staying at a rental house in New York while most players are in a hotel as part of SOPs to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic that screwed out many of the year’s events, including Wimbledon, and US Open will be played behind closed doors at part of protocols too.
“I want to play. I mean, that’s why I’m here,” Djokovic told the NYT.
“I am personally not afraid of being in a risky, dangerous health situation for myself. If I felt that way, I most likely would not be here.”
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While Djokovic chases a fourth US Open crown adds some prestige to a Slam as Novak Djokovic chasing Roger Federer’s 20 Grand Slams mark that lacks many of the sport’s biggest stars in the event.
“I cannot say it’s the main reason why I’m here, but it’s one of the reasons,” Djokovic said. “First of all, I have to think about myself and my health and my fitness and whether my team is OK to be here.”
“Then I, of course, also felt responsible as a top player to be here. It’s important for our sport to keep going.”
Novak Djokovic defends Adria Tour
Novak Djokovic defended his decision to stage and play the Adria Tour charity series in June in Serbia and Croatia, which as a result produced some coronavirus cases, including some among top players participated in the event, with Djokovic positive and went out for isolating himself in quarantine.
“We tried to do something with the right intentions,” Djokovic defended his decision. “Yes, there were some steps that could have been done differently. But am I going to be then forever blamed for doing a mistake?
“If I had the chance to do the Adria Tour again I would do it again.”