World primary Novak Djokovic says he practically skipped the US Open however plans to play the Grand Slam occasion regardless of Covid-19 issues partly to chase tennis historical past.
Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, instructed the New York Occasions that attempting to catch Roger Federer’s males’s file 20 Slam crowns was “after all” a significant component in his resolution to play the Flushing Meadows fortnight that begins 31 August.
“One of many the reason why I carry on enjoying skilled tennis on this stage is as a result of I need to attain extra heights within the tennis world,” Djokovic instructed the newspaper.
The 33-year-old Serbian has gained 5 of the previous seven males’s singles Slam crowns however got here to the New York hardcourts solely after assurances from European officers that gamers getting back from the US Open wouldn’t face an extended quarantine earlier than upcoming European occasions such because the French Open.
“I used to be very near not coming,” mentioned Djokovic, who made the ultimate resolution lower than per week earlier than arriving. “There have been lots of uncertainties.”
Djokovic is staying at a rental home in New York whereas most gamers are in a resort as a part of protocols to fight the COVID-19 pandemic that worn out most of the 12 months’s occasions, together with Wimbledon, and can stop followers from attending the US Open.
“I need to play. I imply, that is why I am right here,” Djokovic instructed the Occasions.
“I’m personally not afraid of being in a dangerous, harmful well being state of affairs for myself. If I felt that method, I most definitely wouldn’t be right here.”
Federer, 39, is injured and Spain’s Rafal Nadal, 34, is absent, the 2019 US Open champion and 19-time Grand Slam singles winner specializing in the upcoming clay season and a possible 13th crown on the Paris purple clay.
Djokovic, who has topped the world rankings for 282 weeks, may overtake Federer’s file of 310 weeks at primary by March and instructed the Occasions that could be a main aim as nicely.
Having Djokovic chase a fourth US Open crown provides some status to an Slam that lacks most of the sport’s greatest stars.
“I can not say it is the principle motive why I am right here, nevertheless it’s one of many causes,” Djokovic mentioned. “Initially, I’ve to consider myself and my well being and my health and whether or not my workforce is OK to be right here.
“Then I, after all, additionally felt accountable as a prime participant to be right here. It is necessary for our sport to maintain going.”
Djokovic defended his resolution to stage the Adria Tour charity sequence in June in Serbia and Croatia, which produced a cluster of coronavirus circumstances, together with some amongst prime gamers, with Djokovic optimistic and isolating, saying he solely had gentle signs.
“We tried to do one thing with the best intentions,” Djokovic mentioned. “Sure, there have been some steps that might have been performed in a different way. However am I going to be then endlessly blamed for doing a mistake?
“If I had the prospect to do the Adria Tour once more I’d do it once more.”
Djokovic worries about placing something into his physique, together with probably a Covid-19 vaccine.
“If somebody is forcing me to place one thing in my physique, that I do not need, for me that is unacceptable,” Djokovic instructed the Occasions.
“I’m not towards vaccination of any sort, as a result of who am I to discuss vaccines when there are individuals which have been within the area of medication and saving lives around the globe?”