London – 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 made this disclosure in an interview granted in London.
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.
The competition is due to be played from Aug. 31 to 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 to 28.
It will serve as a tune-up for the hard court Grand Slam.
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 clay court events in the lead up to Roland Garros are in Madrid (Sept. 13 to Sept. 20) and Rome (Sept. 20 to Sept. 27).
While Spain does not require mandatory quarantine, Italy will need travelers 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 the U.S. But things can change in the next 10 to 12 days,” Murray said.
“Hopefully before we leave, the players will have the assurances that, when they come back from the U.S., 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.”
The U.S. 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 he took part in some exhibition events recently with the professional circuit shut.
The 33-year-old said he was willing to take the travel “risk” as he missed playing in big events.
“(With) 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.”