An American tennis star has called out Novak Djokovic, accusing the World No.1 of hypocrisy over his opposition to the US Open.
Djokovic has caused a stir in the tennis world after admitting that as things currently stand, he would rather skip America's grand slam and focus on the French Open.
The Serbian star says the safety protocols necessary for the US Open to go ahead are "extreme" and that limiting players to only coach would make it virtually "impossible" for him to compete.
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British player Dan Evans argued that only the very top players could afford to have as big an entourage as the likes of Djokovic and that the majority of competitors would be fine with only having one coach.
Djokovic's stance comes after campaigning earlier in the year for top players to set up a fund for lower-ranked, in order to help them through a financial crisis brought about by COVID-19.
However, the 17-time major winner is now under fire from many of those same players, who are arguing that they need support for the grand slams to go ahead, not opposition.
Women's World No.52 Danielle Collins called out Djokovic for the hypocrisy in a passionate online response.
“This is a serious contradiction to previous comments about having players … inside the top 100 donate money to players outside of the top 250,” Collins wrote to Djokovic online.
“No one has been able to play sanctioned events or make money since February. Here we have an awesome opportunity with the US Open talking about proceeding forward with the event, with some strict safety precautions to make sure all players feel safe and their health is put first.
“This is a massive opportunity for players to start making money again, and here we have the top player in the world saying only being able to bring one person with (him) will be too difficult be able to bring his entourage.”
Collins, 26, implored the likes of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to get behind the US Open push, rather than continually demonstrate their opposition towards it.
“If it’s safe to play, and the USTA, WTA and ATP do everything in their ability to prioritise the health of the players, I think we should support that,” Collins said.
“It’s easy when someone’s made $US150 million ($AUD 205m) throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open.
“For those of us (most tennis players) who don’t travel with an entourage, we actually need to start working again. It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for the players and the fans!”
World No.1 hints at skipping US Open
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.
"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.
Organisers are assessing safety measures for the tournament, which is scheduled to go ahead without spectators.
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.
Defending champion Nadal is also not keen on travelling to New York, one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus, in present circumstances.