US Open expected to go ahead in New York but without fans

Reports suggest United States Tennis Association will confirm the news this week

Despite major challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Tennis Association is set to announce that it will hold the 2020 United States Open with the support of the men’s and women’s tours. Photo: Karsten Moran/The New York Times

Despite major challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Tennis Association is set to announce that it will hold the 2020 United States Open with the support of the men’s and women’s tours. Photo: Karsten Moran/The New York Times

 

The United States Tennis Association will hold the US Open this year without fans amid the coronavirus outbreak even though some top players have expressed concerns about attending the tournament due to the virus, according to multiple reports.

The New York Times, which cited unnamed sources, said the USTA are due to announce this week that it will hold the August 31st to September 13th event in New York with the support of the men’s ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women’s circuit.

The USTA’s agreements with the men’s and women’s tours are “happening or almost there,” one source told Forbes. ESPN, which cited a source familiar with the plan, said the USTA is waiting for a green light from local and state health officials.

“We’re following each step in the procedure that we need to with the great hope that we can announce that the 2020 US Open will be played in its regularly scheduled date,” USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier told the Reuters news agency.

“We hope to make an announcement regarding the status of the 2020 US Open in the very near future.”

Shutdown

No professional tennis tournaments have been held since March due to the pandemic, which has left the sport’s calendar in tatters, and the shutdown will extend until August.

Wimbledon was cancelled altogether while the French Open has been moved to September and is due to start one week after the scheduled US Open men’s final.

World number one Novak Djokovic and reigning US Open men’s champion Rafa Nadal are among the players who have expressed concerns about attending the New York tournament.

Nadal said earlier this month that he would not travel to the US Open in present circumstances while Djokovic said playing the event this year would be impossible given the “extreme” protocols that would be in place.

In mid-April the USTA said its decision on whether to hold the Grand Slam this year will be made in June, and playing it without fans is on the table but highly unlikely.

The US Open is held annually in New York City, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was even turned into temporary hospital to help in the battle against the virus.

Last year’s edition drew an all-time attendance record of nearly 740,000 fans and the event is the engine that drives the governing USTA.

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