Elite tennis is set to make a return this weekend after five months of inactivity due to the coronavirus pandemic with Novak Djokovic declaring he will be in attendance.
The world number one has confirmed he will play at the US Open, which starts on 31 August, in New York as well as The Western and Southern Open which begins on Saturday.
“I am happy to confirm that I will participate at the Western & Southern Open and US Open this year.” Djokovic said in a statement. “It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited,”
Djokovic has not played since he and three other players tested positive for Covid-19 at his own Adria Tour competition before later admitting it had been “too soon” to stage the tournament.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has already decided not to enter because of concerns about Covid-19, while five-time winner Roger Federer is recovering from knee surgery.
The Western and Southern Open will be the only tournament before the US Open which will be second Grand Slam of the year and will be played behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows.
One of the oldest tournaments on the ATP tour, this year will be very different as, due to the current pandemic situation, the tournament will be played behind closed doors and it will not be held in the usual Cincinnati as we have grown accustomed to but instead it will be played in New York.
Uncertainty still looms over the coming events as some of the top players are dubious of participating in the US tournaments and notable absences from this week’s tournament include Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, and more recently Kei Nishikori, who just announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19.
This event will also showcase some of the top ladies and will be a co-ed tournament, but it won’t be the first WTA event post-lockdown as some smaller tournaments have already been held.
The WTA side will have even more absences than the Men’s side as only four of the top 10 will be taking part with World number 3 Karolina Pliskova leading the way with all eyes on 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
Ones to Watch
All eyes will be on 2-time former Champion and 6-time US Open Champion Serena Williams. The big question mark will be how fit and how hungry will the great champion be.
If she is on form, it will be tough for anyone to beat her.
Daniil Medvedev is the defending champions and was last year’s form horse going into the US Open in which he made the final.
Last year he reached for Tournament finals in a matter of weeks and he s clearly a fan of the US hard courts and everyone should keep an eye out for him.
Fast American hard courts are not normally Dominic’s favourite type of surface.
However, recent results have shown that he is adapting to all types of surfaces and it seems like the Austrian keeps on improving month-after-month and is quickly approaching the top 3 as a force to be reckoned with.
Djokovic has been through some turmoil recently mainly due to the Adria Tour, which he organised and ended up with a number of players, including the Serbian himself, testing positive for Covid-19.
It will be interesting to see, not only how healthy he is, but also how he handles the surrounding pressure as the current world number 1 has a golden opportunity to edge even closer to Federer’s 20 Grand Slams which should give him the extra motivation to be at his best.
One of the players that most of the fans are curious to see is Brit Andy Murray who is trying to make a comeback to the elite part of the sport having made his return to the sport after a very complex Hip operation in which it was very doubtful that he would ever play again.
Murray had to miss this year’s Australian Open as he was not fully fit, but it looks like the three-time Grand Slam Champion has been working on his fitness as he looked sharp in some exhibition matches recently.
Milos Raonic is one of those players that is currently under the radar. He will not be going into the tournament as one of the favourites at number 30 in the world, however, he has the game that could challenge anyone with his huge serve and big shots.
Recently the Canadian admitted that he has used his time off to work on his tennis and his fitness, if this is true no one will enjoy seeing Milos across the net.
Madison Keys is the current defending champion and beat Simona Halep on her way to the title and is a force to be reckoned with.
Her big serve and powerful forehand should once again give her the tools to be very dangerous on such courts.
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