US Open a big ask for Aussies: Woodbridge

Doubles great Todd Woodbridge says the release of a playing schedule will help Australian tennis stars make a decision on whether or not to contest the US Open.

TODD WOODBRIDGE.
TODD WOODBRIDGE. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Todd Woodbridge concedes it will be a "big ask" for Australia's tennis stars - including women's world No.1 Ashleigh Barty - to contest this year's COVID-19 compromised US Open.

But he believes the release of a program of events around the season's remaining two grand slams in New York and Paris will help.

Had the ATP and WTA not announced last week the resumption of the men's and women's tours in early August, Woodbridge suspects several Australian-based players may have opted out of the US Open.

The hardcourt major will be played from August 31 to September 13 at the same Flushing Meadows venue in Queens that has served as an emergency hospital for coronavirus patients.

Barty won't rush into committing to the Open after expressing concerns last week, while Nick Kyrgios declared officials "selfish" for pressing ahead with the tournament not only during the pandemic but also after the ugly protests that have caused such unrest in the US.

"Now I totally understand some players' response to not wanting to go. It's going to be difficult for Australians to go," Woodbridge told AAP.

"We're going to have to get government approval to leave, we're going to have to get quarantined to come home.

"So that's a deterrent but it's also a big ask.

"But if you want to go and play those events, then you've got the opportunity.

"No one's stopping you from either playing or saying I'm not ready to go back on to the tour.

"It's completely up to the individual and we shouldn't be lambasting that individual for making a choice."

About 180 of the world's top men and women will have to travel from outside the US to compete in New York.

But Woodbridge doesn't predict a major boycott of the Open.

"With the full calendar being released I think that gives Australians an opportunity to say 'OK, I'll go to the US and then I'll head to Europe and I'll have about a nine-week tour' and that's not unreasonable," the doubles great turned commentator said.

"That's what we do every year.

"In a normal year, we go away early into Europe - you might play the claycourt season through to the end of the grasscourt season.

"It's only that length of time and, given you've got to leave Australia, you may as well make a full tour of it.

"So I think that the calendars will actually help people to make a clearer decision that 'I need to get back on tour and now I've got a schedule that I can build'."


AAP