Tennis has stopped since last March due to the outbreak of the global pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on almost all sectors. Unless further upheavals, the men's circuit should start again in mid-August with the Washington tournament, which will anticipate the Cincinnati Masters 1000 and the US Open both staged in New York.
However, the ATP's decision on the rankings could cause many players not to travel to the United States to focus on the clay court season. Mutua Madrid Open director Feliciano Lopez has already announced that Rafael Nadal will be present in the Spanish capital, so it cannot be excluded that the former World number 1 will choose to give up defending the title in the Big Apple.
Annabel Croft, a former player and now a valued host, is of the opinion that players should travel to New York without any fear, although the US is one of the countries with the highest number of infections in the world.
Croft on the US Open
“If I was still playing now, I would be ready to get back on court at the US Open next month,” Annabel Croft told Tennis365.
“Having been involved with the Battle of The Brits event at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre last week, I saw all the precautions that went into making sure that event ran smoothly and confirmed to me that tennis can be played in these extraordinary times.
The tournament was a huge success and we can all take encouragement from that. From what I hear, the way they are planning to put the US Open on is a safety-first approach on every level, with precautions to protect the players to ensure they play in a safe environment a priority for everyone.
If I was a player and knew that all those precautions are in place, then I would take responsibility for my own health and make sure I needed to do what I need to do and play" - he added. She also discussed the absence of spectators: “Empty stands at the US Open will be strange, but we saw Andy Murray walk on court at the Battle of the Brits event last week and there was no-one clapping, no cheers and everyone watching at home on TV enjoyed it,” she added.
“Here was a three time Grand Slam champion, a two time Olympic Gold medalist, giving his all playing some high-quality tennis. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will have been playing tennis all their lives and they would have played most of their junior matches in front of no crowds, with just their parents watching.
They also practice a lot without anyone watching and when you are a ruthless competitor, they won’t care if a crowd is present when they get out on court and start playing”.