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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday June 12, 2020

Simona Halep

With just a few days left to make a decision, players are lining up on both sides of the US Open debate.

Photo Source: AP

Simona Halep and Danielle Collins weren’t in on the ATP Zoom call that was held for over 400 ATP players and coaches on Wednesday, but they have still managed to get their influential voices heard.

Tennis Express

Both players reached out to Christopher Clarey of the New York times, expressing opposing viewpoints about the developing US Open scenario.

Halep is in the conservative camp, and told Clarey via email that she still has concerns about traveling to the United States during a full-blown pandemic.

“I definitely have strong concerns about going [to the US Open] with those conditions,” Halep said. “Not only because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic but also because of the risk of travel, potential quarantine and then the changes around the tournament.”

Halep, much like World No.1 Novak Djokovic, who expressed trepidations about playing the US Open with a limited entourage and with many other safety measures in place due to Coronavirus, is a creature of habit and doesn’t relish the idea of playing a Grand Slam in a worst-case scenario.

“We are used to things operating very differently and it would not be an easy transition at all, particularly on our bodies. I know that financially the tournament and sponsors would like it to run and also that many players are out of jobs right now, but I think it’s a very personal decision we have to make. It’s important to understand that everyone has individual needs and circumstances and we should do what’s best for our personal health and also think long term about our career.”

Collins initially posted some critical remarks about Djokovic on her Instagram stories, and she echoed those sentiments in an email conversation with Clarey.

“He is one of the most influential players of our time, and his reluctance to play could determine whether or not the U.S. Open goes ahead,” she said in an email to Clarey. “His incredible accomplishments and being the greatest player in the world has given him privileges like having a full staff to support him. The majority of players do not have this luxury.”

Collins adds that while players like Halep and Djokovic feel put out by the difficulties of playing the US Open in New York, other less fortunate players are desperate for the opportunity to earn the money. In short, they would appreciate the opportunity.

“Everyone else is also making sacrifices, losing their jobs, having to find child care for their children who can’t go to school, etc,” she told Clarey. “If the biggest sacrifice I will have to make in order to get tennis back up and going is only bringing one guest to the site, then I will consider myself very fortunate.”

Collins, the current World No.51, will likely need more support from players on both tours if she is to counter the influence of the top players who are reluctant to play.

The US Open wants to play the tournament badly, in order to recoup some revenues from television and sponsors, but they have not tabled the notion that it might just be best in the long run to cancel. If they don’t get the support of any of the top players that could significantly derail their negotiations with television networks and other sponsors.

The spectators are already off the table, but for now, the event itself remains. On Monday June 15, the USTA is expected to make its decision. Between now and then the back channels will no doubt be lining up and the Whatsapp messages will be flying in.


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