Novak Djokovic arrived in New York last Saturday, ready to compete at Cincinnati and the US Open events in the next three weeks. World no. 1 came to the USA without his family and a small group of people around him, led by one of his coaches Goran Ivanisevic.
Novak will chase the 18th Major title in circumstances he had never experienced before, competing at his first Major without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer in the draw. The Spaniard decided to skip the New York trip and work on clay ahead of Rome and Roland Garros.
Roger Federer is sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury, preparing his comeback for the start of 2021. Speaking about his decision, Djokovic admitted he was close to staying away from New York, aware of all the issues and risks that all the players will have to endure outside the court.
Novak Djokovic made a tough decision to come and compete in New York.
Unlike other players that will stay in the bubble, Novak has ranted a house, having to follow strict conditions imposed by the U.S.T.A and pay the approved security that should make sure for the Serb to follow all the directions.
Novak will compete in both singles and doubles in Cincinnati, trying to shape up his form and get ready for the second Major of the season, hoping for a similar outcome to the Australian Open. In his last tournament of the season in February, the Serb claimed the title in Dubai, improving his perfect score in 2020 to 18-0 following a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic led Serbia towards the ATP Cup title, conquering the eighth Australian Open crown in Melbourne and passing Rafael Nadal to become world no. 1 again. In 2018, the Serb claimed crowns in Cincinnati and New York and couldn't keep them last summer following losses to Daniil Medvedev and Stan Wawrinka.
In New York, Wawrinka had a 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 lead over Djokovic before the Serb retired due to a shoulder injury, never feeling comfortable at the last Major of the season and handing the trophy to Rafael Nadal. "I was very close to not coming.
There were a lot of uncertainties, and there are still many things that are not really clear. I want to play, that's why I'm here. I am personally not afraid of being in a risky, dangerous health situation. If I felt that way, I most likely would not be here.
I am cautious, of course, and I have to be responsible and respect the regulations, rules, and restrictions like all the others. Things are unpredictable; anything can happen in or off the tennis court," Novak Djokovic said.