“#Danielle Collins rips Novak Djokovic over his U.S. Open ‘entourage’ whining”
June 10, 2020 | 1:37pm | Updated June 10, 2020 | 1:40pm
American Danielle Collins, the 51st-ranked player in the WTA, called out Djokovic for having a bloated entourage and being out of touch with the financial security of fellow players, following the 17-time grand slam champion’s comments that he — and others — might not play the U.S. Open because its proposed safety protocol is too “extreme.”
Collins, 26, has never advanced past the second round of the U.S. Open, and earned over $2.5 million as a pro. Djokovic, the three-time U.S. Open champion, has collected more money on the court than any player in the sport’s history.
“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.”
Currently, the U.S. Open is scheduled to begin Aug. 31. If the tournament is held — Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II, due to COVID-19 — international players would need to quarantine for 14 days upon landing in the U.S. Once arriving in Queens, players would be restricted to certain courts, be permitted to bring just one person to a match, stay at hotels near the Flushing site and be prohibited from going to Manhattan.
“If it’s safe to play, and the USTA, WTA and ATP do everything in their ability to prioritize the health of the players, I think we should support that. It’s easy when someone’s made $150 million throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the us open, ” Collins said. “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!”
In addition to reluctance to travel to what became the global epicenter of the pandemic, some players also are torn about playing the U.S. Open because the French Open — usually played in May — has been postponed to the week after New York’s grand slam concludes.
“Nothing is certain yet, a final decision is expected by the end of the month,” Djokovic told Serbian broadcaster RTS. “At the moment the measures in force are very severe….These are pretty extreme conditions and I don’t know if they are sustainable. Most of the players I’ve talked to so far have a rather negative view of the possibility of going.
“Of course, we would all like to return to the courts as soon as possible and play tournaments, the ones before the US Open and the US Open and I hope they will take place but there has to be a compromise between the organizers and the players. We’ll see if it will happen.”
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