While it seems pretty much impossible that we’ll have the US Open this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament is still considering whether to cancel and will make the final decision in June, although what they know is that it is highly unlikely that the event will be held without spectators.
In a conference call on Wednesday, USTA CEO and executive director Mike Dowse said:
In one sense we’re very fortunate that we’re the fourth Grand Slam to go, so time is on our side at this point. Obviously our ambition is to run the tournament.
A medical advisory group consisting of five to six doctors will help determine whether it’s safe to play the 2020 US Open, as the health and wellbeing of the players, the fans and tournament staff are of utmost importance. In that regard, Dowse said:
We just don’t have enough information that we can run the tournament safely. We’ve set a timeframe around June to make that decision.
When it comes to organizing the tournament without people in the stands, Dowse explained:
Playing without spectators, we’re not taking anything off the table right now, but to be honest and open, I think that’s highly unlikely. That’s not really in the spirit of the celebration of tennis. It also goes
back to the health and wellbeing of not just the spectators but of our players and support staff that help
run the tournament.
Unless the medical industry or medical experts come up with a solution that truly is foolproof and safe, we don’t see that as an option.
New York City’s coronavirus death toll has jumped past 10,000 and lockdown measures have been extended to May 15th, while the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, which stages the US Open every year, is currently serving as a temporary hospital.
The US Open is due to begin at Flushing Meadows on August 31st. Roland Garros has been rescheduled to take place from September 20th to October 4th (it will be interesting to see how and even whether that will work out) and Wimbledon, due to be played between June 29th and July 12th, has been canceled.