March 7, 2021

Plan to carry 2020 US Open with out followers awaits authorities OK – tennis

Transferring nearer to holding the primary Grand Slam match of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Tennis Affiliation is awaiting the go-ahead from the New York state authorities to play the U.S. Open in New York beginning in August — with out followers and with strict well being protocols. “We’re prepared to maneuver ahead,” USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier stated in a phone interview Monday, “so long as we get all of the approvals we want.”

A proper announcement may come this week. “We’ve acquired a proposal and we’re reviewing it,” Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, wrote in an electronic mail.

Like many sports activities, the skilled tennis excursions have been suspended since March due to the pandemic. The French Open was postponed from Could and at present is slated to begin per week after the Sept. 13 finish of the U.S. Open; Wimbledon was canceled altogether for the primary time since World Struggle II in 1945.

Even when the state OKs the U.S. Open, one important query would stay: Which gamers truly would take part?

Such prime names as each No. 1-ranked gamers, Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, and defending males’s champion Rafael Nadal, have expressed reservations about heading to Flushing Meadows, the place an indoor tennis facility was used as a brief dwelling for lots of of hospital beds on the top of the town’s coronavirus disaster.

Already dominated out, regardless: Roger Federer, who has received 5 of his males’s-record 20 Grand Slam singles titles on the U.S. Open however introduced not too long ago that he’s out for the remainder of the 12 months after needing a second arthroscopic surgical procedure on his proper knee.

With worldwide TV contracts — together with an annual common of $70 million from ESPN alone — serving to offset the lack of cash from ticket gross sales and different onsite income, and dealing with a recession that already led to the latest elimination of greater than 100 jobs on the USTA, the affiliation’s board determined to go ahead with its marquee occasion regardless of considerations about COVID-19 and worldwide journey.

“On the finish of the day, there are three elements concerned within the decision-making. No. 1 is making a plan that has well being and security on the forefront. No. 2 is whether or not conducting the U.S. Open is the proper factor for the game of tennis. And No. three is whether or not it may be finished in a financially viable method. We imagine we will hit all three of the aims,” Widmaier stated. “However we do must strategy this in a step-by-step method, and when all the steps are accomplished, that’s once we could make an official announcement.”

The plan shared with the state authorities contains: zero spectators; restricted participant entourages; assigned motels; elevated cleansing on the match grounds; additional locker room house; each day temperature checks and occasional testing for COVID-19.

There can be no qualifying for singles and sure lowered fields for doubles. Gamers whose rankings would have put them in qualifying rounds that permit some women and men entry to the 128-player singles attracts shall be compensated with funds the USTA will move alongside to the ATP and WTA excursions to distribute.

Additionally a part of the proposal shared with gamers: The Cincinnati hard-court match scheduled for Aug. 16-23 — the USTA is its majority proprietor — can be moved to New York and held rather than U.S. Open qualifying.

Final week, Djokovic stated the restrictions that will be in place for the U.S. Open in New York due to the virus can be “excessive.”

“A lot of the gamers I’ve talked to have been fairly unfavourable on whether or not they would go there,” Djokovic stated.

He hosted exhibition matches with packed stands final week in his dwelling nation of Serbia, the place the federal government lifted most lockdowns and restrictions final month.

“I’ve considerations, too,” Barty wrote in an electronic mail. “I perceive the tournaments are desperate to run, however retaining everybody secure needs to be the precedence.”

Widmaier stated the USTA has been consulting with the ATP and WTA about its setup.

“Our said objective has been that, if we may construct a plan at the side of medical and safety consultants that mitigated the dangers of COVID-19 and warranted the well being and well-being of all U.S. Open individuals, we very a lot wish to transfer forward with the match,” he stated. “We imagine, by working within the collaborative method with these consultants and the 2 excursions, now we have such a plan.”