‘We heard some rumours’: Djokovic shares uncertainty over summer of tennis

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic says he still does not know whether the ATP Cup will take place in Australia in January.

Djokovic led Serbia to the title in the first edition of the 24-nation tournament this year before going on to win the Australian Open for a record-extending eighth time.

Novak Djokovic is hopeful the Australian Open and lead-up tournaments can go ahead.Credit:Getty Images

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley has proposed that all the Australian Open warm-up events, including the ATP Cup, will be held in the state of Victoria next year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, although Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that is “not a done deal”.

Players will have to undergo a two-week quarantine period before being cleared to play in Australia ahead of the Melbourne grand slam, posing logistical problems as they would have to arrive in the country far earlier than usual.

Asked about the situation after his 6-3, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman in his first match at the ATP finals, Djokovic said it was challenging.

"We don't know whether ATP Cup is happening. We heard some rumours there might be eight teams only," he said.

"Obviously you want things to be ideal, but what is ideal in these circumstances? We really don't know. So I think it's out of our reach. Also Tennis Australia has to follow what the Australian government is regulating and proposing them to do."

Asked about those comments, Djokovic said: "I have not noticed much of a doubt whether the tournaments will happen or not." But he added: "It is challenging. I'm just hoping for the sake of tennis and sake of the players that we will have the Australian Open and also the possibility of the ATP Cup and a couple more tournaments at least."

This year's ATP Cup was staged across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney with the final in Sydney.

Under the new plan, that would be impossible with players restricted to Victoria where they will be free to move around once they have completed a two-week quarantine.

Tiley told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in an interview last week: "I think we are the safest sports nation in the world right now. The only internationals coming in now over the next five months would be the cricketers, the tennis players and the F1 drivers.

"We're planning a five-, potentially six-week summer. I think that'll be great for our sport here in Australia, great for our position globally, and particularly if this is broadcast around the world. It's a great opportunity."

Asked if the WTA and ATP would stage makeshift tournaments to make the players' 14-day quarantine worthwhile, Tiley said: "Yeah, it could look like that".

Men's governing body the ATP declined to comment.

"From what I've heard the latest news from Tennis Australia is that the Australian Open and the rest of the tournaments will be held in Victoria state, mostly Melbourne and around Melbourne," Djokovic said.

"I hope that it will happen. I want to play in Australia, Australian Open. I'm not sure about the ATP Cup and the tournaments before, because obviously you have to leave quite in advance, I think two-and-a-half or three weeks prior to the first match," Djokovic said.

"I'm just hoping for the sake of tennis and sake of players that we will have Australian Open and also possibility of ATP Cup and couple more tournaments at least."

Reuters

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