After previously saying he had a problem with the tournament's quarantine requirement, Novak Djokovic announced on Thursday that he will be participating in the US Open. The event is scheduled to get underway on Aug. 31 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
"It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited," Djokovic said in a statement on his website.
Djokovic had stated earlier in 2020 that he'd play in the US Open only if tournament officials agreed to waive the "extreme" quarantine requirement once he returns to Europe. Djokovic still has to quarantine for 14 days after participating in the Grand Slam tournament. The tennis star and his wife, Jelena, both tested positive for the coronavirus in late June following the Adria Tour, which was ultimately canceled. The two isolated in Croatia and didn't show any symptoms before testing negative for COVID-19.
In addition, Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki -- all of whom played in exhibitions at the tournament alongside Djokovic-- also tested positive for COVID-19.
As far as the US open goes, Djokovic -- who has won the tournament three times -- knows it is going to be "very different" this year.
"I am aware that this time around it will be very different with all the protocols and safety measures that are put in place to protect players and people of NY," Djokovic said. "Nevertheless, I have trained hard with my team and got my body in shape so I am ready to adapt to new conditions. I've done all the checkups to make sure I am fully recovered and I am ready to get back on court fully committed to playing my best tennis."
No social distancing measures were enforced during the Adria Tour matches that Djokovic organized in Croatia and Serbia, even though players travelled from all over the world to participate in the events. Off the court, videos surfaced in June of Djokovic and several European tennis stars, including Coric and Dimitrov, partying at a Serbian nightclub days before Dimitrov confirmed that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Djokovic currently has an 18-0 record in 2020 and is coming off winning the Australian Open back in February prior to the coronavirus pandemic. His decision to participate in the US Open is big for the sport, as fellow stars Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty, the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world, won't be at the event.