Novak Djokovic: ‘Most players are experiencing mental issues and motivational issues’

Novak Djokovic presser

Novak Djokovic has joined the chorus of players who have spoken up about the struggles on the ATP Tour due the impact that the coronavirus is having on the sport.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem was due to play at the Serbia Open this week, but he is taking an extended break and revealed over the weekend that the bubble life and unpredictability of the Tour have taken its toll, saying it is “difficult to play week after week in these circumstances”.

Frenchman Benoit Paire has also been outspoken and described the Monte-Carlo Masters atmosphere as “sad” adding “the circuit has become rotten”.

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Djokovic was asked about Thiem’s comments ahead of the Serbia Open and replied: “It’s definitely a big loss for our tournament to not have Dominic Thiem here.

“The tennis world needs him because he’s a Grand Slam champion and one of the top players of the world, a big star.

“He was excited to come back, so it’s unfortunate he’s not here.

“I’ve heard that he is struggling with how he is feeling. He’s a bit exhausted with the restrictions in the bubble life on the tour.

“I understand what he’s been going through because we all go through that.

“Most of the players are experiencing some of the mental issues and motivational issues – playing in front of empty stands, traveling and not being able to go out of their hotel room – just being restricted to the tennis courts and the hotel.”

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