COVID-19 outbreak: Is US Open 2020 on track?

Updated: Jun 01, 2020, 10:26 IST | AFP | AP/PTI

Charter flights, centralised housing, temperature checks are some measures that will be put in place as efforts are on to host last Grand Slam of the year

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the US Open final last year. Pic/AFP
Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the US Open final last year. Pic/AFP

Charter flights to ferry US Open tennis players and limited entourages from Europe, South America and the Middle East to New York. Negative COVID-19 tests before traveling. Centralised housing. Daily temperature checks. No spectators. Fewer on-court officials. No locker-room access on practice days.

All are among the scenarios being considered for the 2020 US Open—if it is held at all amid the Coronavirus pandemic—and described to The Associated Press by a high-ranking official at the Grand Slam tournament.

"All of this is still fluid," Stacey Allaster, the US Tennis Association's chief executive for professional tennis, said in a telephone interview Saturday. "We have made no decisions at all." With that caveat, Allaster added that if the USTA board does decide to go forward with the Open, she expects it to be held at its usual site and in its usual spot on the calendar. The main draw is scheduled to start August 31.

"We continue to be, I would say, 150 per cent focused on staging a safe environment for conducting a US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on our dates. It's all I wake up—our team wakes up—thinking about," Allaster said.

"The idea of an alternative venue, an alternative date...we've got a responsibility to explore it, but it doesn't have a lot of momentum." An announcement should come from "mid-June to end of June," Allaster said.

All sanctioned competition has been suspended by the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation since March and is on hold until late July. The French Open was postponed from May to September; Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since 1945.

Financial support for lower-ranked players

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has extended financial support to the lower-ranked players, both singles and doubles. "ITF is going to help players, who are ranked between 500 and 700 in the singles category and doubles players ranked between 175-300," a source said.

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