World number three Dominic Thiem said in an Austrian media interview published yesterday that he was keen to play the US Open if it can go ahead.
The United States has seen an alarming resurgence of new coronavirus cases. On Friday a record 57,000 new infections were confirmed.
The ATP and WTA tours are due to return next month, with the US Open starting on August 31 and the French Open beginning a month later. Thiem said he trusted the US authorities to make the right decision.
“I think in the next five to seven days there will be a decision,” Thiem said.
“Of course I hope it (the US Open) will go ahead, but safety comes first of course. We have to follow countries’ governments - if they see any danger, they won’t allow a tournament, especially such a big one as the US Open,” the Austrian told public broadcaster ORF. The 26-year-old plans to play in Kitzbuehel in western Austria in an exhibition event he is co-organising next and then in Berlin, after which he said he would do “intensive training” to prepare for Cincinnati and the US Open if those go ahead.
He played in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament organised by Novak Djokovic last month after which the world number one and three other participants all tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The matches, where social distancing was minimal, were played in front of thousands of fans, while the players were seen partying at a packed Belgrade night spot, earning a storm of criticism. Thiem, who has tested negative for the new coronavirus since Belgrade, reiterated in the ORF interview the “huge mistake by us all”.
“We all acted much too euphoric. The most important is that we learn from our mistakes,” he said. Thiem will donate the prize money that he won in Belgrade during the ill-fated Adria Tour, his father was quoted by Austrian media.
Thiem took part in the Belgrade leg of the exhibition event organised by Djokovic, where social distancing was minimal and matches were played in front of thousands of fans, earning a storm of criticism.
Thiem’s father, Wolfgang, who also trains the 26-year-old, defended Djokovic, telling Austria’s Presse daily that the world number one had not broken any of Serbia’s and Croatia’s coronavirus rules and the tour had aimed to collect money for charity. “Of course the dancing in the nightclub (during the tour) was not ideal, but Djokovic did nothing bad in principle,” he was quoted as saying.
“....a few thousand euros (dollars) are collected for a clinic treating children with cancer.”
He did not say to who Thiem would donate his prize money. The 33-year-old Djokovic donated more than 40,000 euros ($45,000) to the Serbian town of Novi Pazar, badly affected by the pandemic to help it fight a growing outbreak of the disease, Serbian media reported on Wednesday.
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