Reality check for entitled $205m star
Novak Djokovic can afford to skip the US Open.
The world's top-ranked male tennis star doesn't need to work another day in his life. But no other player in the world has over $AUD205 million in career earnings to fall back on.
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 US Open because its proposed safety protocol to combat the spread of COVID-19 is too "extreme"
Collins, 26, has never advanced past the second round of the US Open, and has earned over $3.5 million as a pro. Djokovic, the three-time US 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 US Open is scheduled to begin on August 31. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to COVID-19 but if the tournament in New York is held, international players would need to quarantine for 14 days upon landing in the US.
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 prioritise the health of the players, I think we should support that," Collins said.
"It's easy when someone's made $US150 million ($AUD 205m) throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open.
"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 epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, some players also are torn about playing the US 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 organisers and the players. We'll see if it will happen."
This article first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Reality check for entitled $205m star