'Not really valid': Rival exposes Novak Djokovic untruth

Novak Djokovic says proposals for staging the US Open are extreme. Pic: Getty

British tennis star Dan Evans has blown open Novak Djokovic's argument about the US Open, insisting the top male players should support staging the grand slam, for the greater good of the game.

Djokovic and Nadal - the top two male players in the world - both suggested in the last week that there were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of travelling to New York for the US Open, beginning at the end of August.

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World No.1 Djokovic was particularly critical of the proposed measures the US Open would have to put in place in order to stage a safe event, with the country still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Djokovic said he had a meeting with world tennis leaders last week, where he was briefed on the "extreme" rules that players would have to follow, labelling them "impossible".

"The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme," Djokovic said.

"We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week.

"Also, we could bring one person to the club, which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist."

However, Evans has hit back at Djokovic's suggestion that players need more than just one coach - arguing that the Serb's point only 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."

Dan Evans says Djokovic's argument doesn't apply to the majority of players. Pic: Getty

The US Open organisers are assessing safety measures for the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 without spectators after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the season in March.

The US Open will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the novel coronavirus outbreak, and will be followed by the French Open which was moved to September.

Defending champion Rafa Nadal is also not keen on travelling to New York, one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus, in present circumstances.

Concerns over COVID-19 situation in America

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.

Much will depend on how the coronavirus situation evolves in America over the coming weeks, with Nadal indicating that he would not feel comfortable travelling to New York at present.

“If you [ask] me today, today I will say, ‘No,'" Nadal said during a conference call on Friday.

“In a couple of months? I don’t know. Hopefully, ‘Yes.’ But we need to wait probably until we have more clear information about how the virus evolves and how the situation is going to be in New York in a couple of months.

"Because, of course, New York has been one of the places that have been very strongly hit by the virus.”