For the first time since 1999, we will see a Grand Slam tournament without Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The World number 2, reigning US Open champion, will give up defending the title he won last year in New York, partly worried about the situation linked to the virus, and partly aware of having to focus on Roland Garros.
As for the Swiss, the double operation on his right knee will keep him stationary until the beginning of 2021. Other leading names will also be missing from the US Open, such as Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Juan Martin del Potro and Fabio Fognini.
All eyes will be on Novak Djokovic, who in the event of victory would reach 18 Grand Slams. Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem has admitted that this New York Grand Slam edition could be worth much less than usual.
Thiem on the US Open
“The expectations for me are quite high,” Dominic Thiem said in an interview with the Standard.
“All of us will have a completely new experience. There will be no spectators, a very small team, staying only in the hotel. You have to be honest and keep in mind that many top players will not attend the tournament (like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal).
That means going far in this tournament it would be worth much less than normal compared to the Australian Open this year. Despite that, I am looking forward to playing. There has been much debate over whether or not the US Open should be going ahead given the coronavirus situation, but Thiem has backed the decision, saying it’s time for tennis to get itself going again.
When the tour resumes, I will be ready. I see in a neutral way. Tennis is one of the biggest sports in the world, and others like Formula 1 and basketball have already returned. It’s time for tennis to continue this trend."
It’s been a difficult few days for organisers at Flushing Meadows after seeing a spate of top names pull out of the tournament with safety concerns. They include defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal and current WTA world number one Ashleigh Barty.
The WTA has also lost Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina, but they can keep Kvitova’s name in the US Open women’s draw. “They’ve allowed us a two-member escort, so we’ll fly in three with a coach and a physiotherapist,” Kvitova told reporters on Monday.
“I’m not the type of player who needs a lot of people around me. It’s enough for me, it will probably be worse for men. I’ll try my best and have a clear conscience, let it turn out as it turns out."