Evans dismisses Djokovic’s U.S. Open concerns over COVID-19 protocols

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 500 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 28, 2020 Britain’s Dan Evans in action during his Semi Final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani/File Photo

(Reuters) – Britain’s Dan Evans believes Novak Djokovic’s concerns about players having only one member of their support staff at the U.S. Open does not apply to the majority of the field and compromises should be made when action resumes.

The U.S. Open organisers are assessing safety measures for the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 without spectators after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the season in March.

World number one Djokovic said hosting the tournament would be impossible due to “extreme” COVID-19 protocols, but Evans said there has to be some “give and take” from the players.

“I don’t think having one person of your team only allowed is such a big deal – the majority of the draw would only travel with one coach,” Evans told BBC 5 Live.

“Not everyone’s travelling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.”

The U.S. Open will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the novel coronavirus outbreak, and will be followed by the French Open which was moved to September.

Defending champion Rafa Nadal is also not keen on travelling to New York, one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus, in present circumstances.

But Evans has urged both Nadal and Djokovic to take part in the event in order to help lower-ranked professionals in financial crisis due to the shutdown.

“This is the point where I think the players should really come together and Novak and Rafa should really be looking to help those players with lower ranks so they get a good pay day,” Evans added.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar