The US Open is pushing ahead with plans to hold its tournament behind closed doors in September - but that provides top New Zealand doubles player Michael Venus with a difficult dilemma. He explains to Matt Brown.
New Zealand tennis doubles star Michael Venus faces a major conundrum — whether to play or skip the upcoming US Open in New York.
At this stage the USTA is pushing ahead with plans to stage the Grand Slam behind closed doors from September 1-13, despite the Covid-19 pandemic raging in the US.
However, there is talk the logistics of getting everyone to New York and quarantine issues may prove insurmountable and it's understood many leading Europe-based players will skip the event in favour of preparing for the French Open, scheduled to start two weeks after the US Open.
Venus has heard that chatter and says everything is up in the air.
"I have heard right now, coming from the States you have to quarantine for two weeks in Europe and in doing that you will miss Madrid and Rome (Masters 1000 tournaments on clay) and have no lead-up on the clay and go straight into the French Open, so I think the guys over there are thinking they will just stay where they are and play on the clay," Venus told the Herald.
The world No 11-ranked doubles player is reluctant to confirm his travel plans given the uncertainty and is undecided whether he will play the US Open if it goes ahead or head straight to Europe.
"That's a conversation John (Peers, his Australian doubles partner) and I will have in a few weeks," Venus said.
"If you do have to quarantine (in the US) the chance of picking up Covid in the States would be quite high and if you do catch it I am not sure of the protocols of how long you would be out for.
"So we have to weigh up all the possibilities and try and make the best decision that will help us play the rest of the year and carry on."
The opening tournament in the US, ATP Tour's Citi Open in Washington DC was cancelled overnight. At this stage the US swing begins August 16 with the Cincinnati Masters, which has been moved to Flushing Meadows in New York as US Open organisers attempt to create a tennis bubble around the Open.
But the worsening Covid-19 situation in many parts of the States doesn't give Venus much cause for optimism.
"It is concerning, we are very lucky here (in New Zealand) to be out and about and doing things normally and not have any worries.
"Going over there with the uncertainty is tough to make a decision as we have not been provided with all the details as to how they will go about quarantining and keeping check on people to make sure people are not doing stupid things," Venus said.
If Venus does go to the States he won't be travelling with his wife Sally and daughter Lila.
"They definitely won't come to the US, it's just kind of wait and see whether things are under control and safe for them to be in Europe."