(Reuters) – Players need assurance that they would not face mandatory quarantine upon returning to Europe from the U.S. Open before travelling to New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former world number one Andy Murray has said.
Organisers United States Tennis Association (USTA) will set up a strict bio-security ‘bubble’ to minimise the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus during the Grand Slam, which will be played from Aug. 31-Sept. 13.
The Western & Southern Open, which was relocated from Cincinnati this year because of COVID-19, will also be held in New York from Aug. 20-28 and will serve as a tune-up for the hardcourt Grand Slam.
Murray, a two-times champion at Cincinnati, was on Monday awarded a wildcard at the Western & Southern Open which has the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev also in the field.
Mandatory quarantine would rule out players’ participation in other ATP and WTA claycourt events scheduled in Europe before the French Open from the end of September.
The two major claycourt events in the leadup to Roland Garros are in Madrid (Sept. 13-20) and Rome (Sept. 20-27).
While Spain does not require mandatory quarantine, Italy would need travellers to quarantine for 14 days if coming from the U.S. The USTA has said the organisers are working with relevant authorities to resolve issues.
“My understanding is that it would be sorted before we go to America. But things can change in the next 10 to 12 days,” Murray told British media.
“Hopefully before we leave, the players will have the assurances that, when they come back from America, they won’t have to quarantine for two weeks.
“If that is the case, and if you do well in the U.S. Open, you can’t just arrive on the Sunday before the French Open starts on the Monday. That’s not going to work.”
Unites States has over 4.68 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 with more than 155,000 deaths.
Murray, a three-times Grand Slam winner, has not played competitively since November due to hip problems but took part in some exhibition events recently with the professional circuit shut.
The 33-year-old said he is willing to take the travel “risk” as he missed playing in big events.
“The situation I’ve been in the last few years, I’ve not had opportunity to play in many Slams. I don’t know how many I’ll have left,” Murray said.
“So, while I’m feeling relatively decent … obviously there is a risk there, but I want to try and play in them and enjoy the biggest events again.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Toby Davis)