Andy Murray has apprehensions of flying to New York, ahead of the Western & Southern Open and US Open in the next couple of weeks.
He also said that breaking of COVID-19 rules is inevitable and punishments should be severe for players who try to break the USTA bubble.
Strict protocols like NBA
Strict protocols will put in place to ensure the safety of the players, who will be expected not to break rules, stay at nearby hotels, and not visit Manhattan.
“I think the majority of players will [respect the bubble] but it would be silly to expect nobody would break the rules and the protocols,” he said.
“In the NBA, which I think will be a similarish setup for us, players have broken it so we should be preparing for that and that is where it is really important.“
“I think the repercussions should be quite serious because you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk.”
Stacey Allaster is hesitant on punishing players
Many of the sport’s governing bodies have been hesitant to enforce severe punishments and this has in turn generated into a topic of interest.
The ATP’s recently updated rulebook for events states that “any repetitive or blatant break of [COVID-19] measures may be considered a violation of the code of conduct”, which would trigger a fine of up to $20,000.
Stacey Allaster, the US Open chief executive, previously avoided discussing punishments altogether by mentioning the personal responsibility of players:
“I have a lot of confidence in these professional athletes,” she said.
With travel restrictions already in place on flights in and out of the UK, Murray admitted he hadn’t considered the idea of flying over to the United States on a private jet.
Andy Murray traveling to US?
“No, I hadn’t considered that. I guess that would potentially reduce the risk a little bit but I haven’t flown on a private jet for a number of years.”
“I tried to stop doing that, so I haven’t planned on that,” he added.
He rejected the notion that the other players’ decisions could have some bearing on his choices. “Everyone will have different feelings about it. We are all individuals,” he said.
“I will have apprehensions about getting there and getting on flights for the first time in months. It is a difficult one because you don’t know when the right time to start travelling would be, who do you listen to?“
“Do you trust everything the government is telling you all the time? Probably not. You need to make your own decision and I trust that the USTA will have come up with a secure bubble for the players.”
The source of motivation for moving past his apprehensions may see. Murray has not competed since November after further problems with his hip forced him to miss the first two months of the season which was then suspended as he prepared to return. If he is healthy, it is hard to believe he would willingly spend more time at home.