Britain’s top tennis player has voiced an eagerness to return for the US Open in late August onwards, saying the sport has fallen behind others in resuming play and he’s not worried about playing behind closed doors.
Dan Evans, ranked world no.28, has made clear his intentions to return at Flushing Meadows for this year’s US Open.
Since the coronavirus pandemic had halted play across all sports in March, there was a wide belief that the 2020 tennis season would be cancelled altogether.
However three months on, there is growing optimism as sports worldwide continue returning to some form of normality – in the form of behind closed door events.
Sports are already returning, Evans wants tennis to follow suit
Germany’s Bundesliga was the first of Europe’s top divisions to resume play on May 16, with many others poised to follow suit later this month.
Dana White and his MMA crew have already successfully produced five UFC events without supporters in attendance, while the NBA season will resume next month.
Naturally, Evans feels tennis has fallen behind their sporting competitors in that regard. He’s unperturbed by the prospect of playing without fans as well as being only allowed one trainer or coach with him.
During an interview in London today, the 30-year-old was quoted as saying: “Being in New York on my own, that’s not ideal, is it? I think that would be one step too far, to go with no support staff.
“But there’s been other sports which are back out there, and this might be tennis for a little while now, with no crowd. How long are we going to wait? Are we going to wait until we can have perfection?
“It’s time. There would be no bigger support for lower-ranked players financially than helping them with a grand slam. There’s a player-relief fund, but the first or second round of a slam, there’s nothing bigger than that.
“How good would it be for tennis fans to see Novak Djokovic and whoever in the semis of a slam? I’m only saying Novak because he has voiced his opinion. It’s not against him.”
Evans relents after earlier criticism of Djokovic’s comments
World no.1 Djokovic described the USTA’s proposed plans as extreme, while Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas have both said they’re unprepared to play in the current climate.
Novak said he wasn’t interested on playing in New York this year if his travelling entourage was restricted to just one person – as part of the tournament’s stringent safety measures.
Evans though, said it wouldn’t bother him if the sport’s top guys were given an exemption over their entourage – so long as it meant they would play.
“It wouldn’t bother me if the top guys were allowed to take two people or three. If top guys really need extra people, then give them that. I would be happy to go there with one coach. I’ve even heard people talking about sharing a coach or a physio.
“You can’t underestimate what teams do for players. I’ve had good weeks when I’ve had just my coach there; good weeks with a lot of people. Players have their reasons; it’s tough to [criticise]. Look at when Andy [Murray] was quite reliant on a lot of people – they were all there for a reason and doing a good job for him.”