Home comforts fuel Djokovic's US Open bid


New York (AFP)

Novak Djokovic said home comforts and being able to open a window were helping his bid for a fourth US Open title after he progressed to the third round Wednesday.

Most players in the quarantine bubble at Flushing Meadows are staying in two pre-approved hotels, but the world number has one opted to rent a private house instead.

"As soon as there was a chance for us to choose to be in a house, we took it right away without thinking. I'm glad we did," he said after overcoming Britain's Kyle Edmund in four sets.

The winner of 17 Grand Slams explained why the decision was a no-brainer.

"Being in a hotel, you're unable to open the window in the room. You constantly have to be with a mask indoors, outdoors, everywhere.

"You can't really go out, (or) spend time in the garden maybe outdoors," added the Serbian superstar.

Djokovic said he had taken a look at one of the hotels on offer, but suggested he wouldn't rank it highly on TripAdvisor for peace and tranquility.

"I saw the hotel. The hotel is not in a best position in terms of having nature around. It's very close to the highway," he told reporters.

"Look, USTA did what they could do," he went on.

"Of course, they made sure they take the entire hotel for the players. Most of them are staying there.

"But I never spent a second thinking that I can stay in a hotel when I heard that I can have a chance to stay in a house. I took it right away."

Players are being kept in a tightly controlled environment at Flushing Meadows in a bid to minimize the risk of coronavirus.

Those staying in hotels are shuttled between their accommodation and the tennis center while anyone in a private house must hire 24-hour security.

The security teams are obliged to inform the United States Tennis Association when players come and go from the homes.

Despite the precautionary measures, fifth seed Alexander Zverev, said he was confused to discover weddings going on at one of the hotels.

"I don't know if it was four or not, but I do know there was weddings, yes, at the other hotel, which was not part of the bubble," he said Wednesday.

Djokovic, a three-time US Open champion, recovered from a set down to defeat Edmund 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The match lasted three hours 13 minutes inside an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium on day three of the first Grand Slam of the COVID-19 era.

Djokovic will play 29th-ranked German Jan-Lennard Struff in the next round on Friday.