No Excuse for Players not to be in Top Shape

Martina Navratilova says that we should expect a mixed bag when next week’s US Open begins. The 18-time major singles champion, speaking in a conference call for Tennis Channel’s coverage of the 2020 US Open, says that this year’s US Open could be similar to the Australian Open in some ways.

Tennis Express

“I think tennis will be high quality, but it will be unpredictable, just like the Australian Open is unpredictable,” she said. “There will be a handful of players that will feel match tough when the tournament starts. So everybody is pretty much in the same boat.”

Navratilova, told us that she feels Novak Djokovic is the big favorite on the men’s side because he will likely have prepared meticulously for the unique circumstances players will face over the next few weeks, said that upsets will be the norm.

“It’s really unpredictable with players coming in after such a long layoff. It will just be interesting to see how everybody looks physically, then also mentally. I think you’ll have more upsets there than you would normally.”

But when it comes to fitness, Navratilova says that there’s no excuse for not being ready. Players have had five months to get their bodies rested and into top shape. The ATP and WTA’s elite may not be “match tough” but they should be fit and ready for the challenge, she says.

“I mean, look, they’ve had a long break, nobody is match tough, but they also had a great opportunity to get in amazing physical shape, right?” she said. “There’s no reason not to be unbelievably fit right now. You had time to experiment and maybe try different training techniques, maybe do some Yoga and pilates that you didn’t have time to do before, really balance out your body, find the extra tenth of a second getting to the ball through better footwork or stronger legs, et cetera. Physically everybody should be amazingly fit.”

In the end, the bottom line is that quality of tennis will likely suffer given the nature of the stoppage and all the uncertainty that players have had to endure over the last five months.

It will be brutal, and only the strong will survive.

“The matches, there is no substitute for that,” Navratilova said. “I think overall you’ll see great tennis. What I’ve been seeing, even in the exhibition-type formats, is great tennis. I think the tennis quality will be there. It will be a little more unpredictable, that’s for sure.”

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