World No.1 Novak Djokovic has delivered another blow to US Open organisers after giving the strongest indication yet that he will choose to skip the grand slam event.
Djokovic has indicated that he would rather miss the US Open -- if it is played -- and instead return to competition on clay ahead of the rescheduled French Open.
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Speaking to Serbia's state broadcaster RTS on Tuesday, Djokovic said the restrictions that would be in place for the grand slam tournament in New York because of the coronavirus pandemic would be "extreme" and not "sustainable."
"Most of the players I have talked to were quite negative on whether they would go there," Djokovic said.
"For me currently, as things stand, most probably the season will continue on clay at the beginning of September."
Like many sports, tennis entered lockdown in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak with all sanctioned tournaments have been scrapped until at least late July.
That includes the French Open, which was supposed to end last weekend but was postponed until September, and Wimbledon, which was cancelled for the first time since 1945.
The US Tennis Association is expected to make a decision as soon as next week about whether to hold the US Open, which is scheduled to begin on August 31.
Djokovic has been quite vocal in his opposition to the US Open recently, labelling safety protocols that would have to be put in place around COVID-19 "extreme".
The World No.1 said it would be essentially "impossible" for players to only travel with one member of their team, insisting they need at least a coach, fitness trainer and a physiotherapist.
British tennis star Dan Evans fired back at Djokovic's point, arguing that the Serb's statement applies to a tiny percentage of players at the very top of the sport.
"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."
Concerns over COVID-19 situation in America
The US Open organisers are assessing safety measures for the tournament, which is scheduled to go ahead without spectators.
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.
The US Open plans revolve around the creation of a safety bubble, similar to the plan in the NBA that will use Disney World as a quarantine hub for players.
Officials have also discussed limiting the number of people involved in the tournament by cutting down on player entourages and on-court officials.
with Yahoo Sport staff