Djokovic "excited" to see Grand Slams confirmed, stops short of committing

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Men's tennis no.1 Novak Djokovic says he's "excited" to see both the US Open and French Open confirmed, but hasn't confirmed he'll play either.

The US Open will be played behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows from August 31st.

While Roland Garros organisers confirmed on Wednesday that this year's postponed tournament will begin on September 27 and conclude on October 11.

As recently as last week, Djokovic claimed to be reluctant about returning to New York.

He told Serbian state broadcaster RTS that the restrictions that would be in place for the US Open would be "extreme" and "not sustainable".

"Most of the players I have talked to were quite negative on whether they would go there,” said the 17-time Grand Slam-winner.

"For me currently, as things stand, most probably the season will continue on clay at the beginning of September."

However, his tone shifted somewhat when he sat down with Eurosport's Tennis Legends vodcast.

"I’m extremely happy and excited to see that all the tournaments, especially Grand Slams, are organising their events", Djokovic told hosts Mats Wilander and Alex Corretja.

"I think that a lot of people were sceptical, especially for the US events considering what the US went through as a country during this pandemic.

"So a lot of people, including myself, were quite sceptical on whether it would happen or not.

"We are very glad that it is happening, of course, and it is very important that we provide opportunities, we provide jobs, we provide opportunities for players to compete.

"Because at the end of the day, this is what we do! As tennis professionals we love the sport; we are passionate about it. We miss competing and travelling and, at the end of the day, we miss being on tour.

"So I think this is very positive news."

Djokovic has had an interesting lockdown to say the least.

The 33-year old outed himself as an anti-vaxxer, saying in April, "I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel".

He also helped former real estate broker turned potion salesman Chervin Jafarieh peddle his wares on Instagram.

Djokovic still hasn't committed to playing at Flushing Meadows, but his appearance does seem more likely.

"Obviously the regulations and measures as of today are quite strict, I must say," he told Wilander and Corretja.

"With quarantine and with some players, especially those from South America, not being able to travel out of their countries to come to the States. Hopefully that will change: the ATP and the USTA, everyone is working on it. The worst case scenario is that it remains like this, but there is time.

"Hopefully every single player who is participating, chosen by ranking and who deserves their place at the US Open, will have an equal opportunity to travel there and compete as everybody else.

"This is very, very important because this is the foundation of the ATP and the foundation of international tennis.

"We will all collectively try to make sure that this is the priority. Let’s hope that in the next two months some of those restrictions will loosen up a bit and that we will have a great, great tournament."

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Chervin Jafarieh Covid-19 French Open Novak Djokovic Roland Garros Tennis US Open

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