The US Open is the only Grand Slam that has been played continuously every year since its establishment and the novel coronavirus pandemic will not break that tradition, as Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State have given a green light to the hosting of the 2020 US Open and 2020 Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, stated:
We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times, and we will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks. We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis’ top athletes compete for a US Open title, and we can showcase tennis as the ideal social distancing sport. Being able to hold these events in 2020 is a boost for the City of New York and the entire tennis landscape.
The US Open will be held in Queens, NY, without fans from August 31st to September 13th. The Western & Southern Open will take place from August 22nd to August 28th.
As Cuomo wrote in a tweet: “The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing and transportation.”
The staging of the 2020 US Open will definitely be awkward and many players have voiced their discomfort about playing under laboratory-like conditions and without spectators. Moreover, the word is out that world No.2 Simona Halep of Romania doesn’t want to travel to the USA and Asia to play tournaments and will stick only to events organized in Europe.
There is also a great discontent about the 2020 US Open not having qualifying and mixed doubles draws, while the doubles draw is smaller. A lot of players agree with Gabriela Dabrowski‘s viewpoint:
My personal thoughts on the @usopen moving forward: pic.twitter.com/wLfoQPb2LN
— Gaby Dabrowski (@GabyDabrowski) June 16, 2020
More details and an official announcement will be released later today by USTA.
Covid-19 is not going away. Florida and other states are seeing a higher number of cases everyday. No one wants tennis to resume more than me, but not at such a high risk to the players and officials. Gaby’s comments are 100% correct. Once again, the players receive only 14% of the income, but are ask to take all the risk. Time to boycott and not play until it is safe.
Johnnyb, when it comes to players’ safety, I don’t think there’s a problem with that under these strict conditions. What will be jeopardized is their level of comfort, the atmosphere at the tournament, etc.
Given the excessive restrictions due to continued Covid paranoia, and the fact that many top players might not show up for various reasons (even if they want to some may be prohibited by travel restrictions), the tournament will be a joke. And a definite asterisk in the record book for whomever wins (especially if Serena wins a depleted-field, no-fan event and claims it as #24).
The same will go for the October French Open (How are they even going to get matches completed in 2 weeks when it will get dark so much earlier than in June? And it will be much colder). At this point the tennis tours would just be better off planning a full -restart under normal rules in January in Australia, and just scrap 2020.
Novak (and Thiem, Dimitrov, Zverev, and the others who played last weekend) and Serbia appear to be the only people not living in perpetual media-induced Covid fear and paranoia. It was refreshing to see them all acting like normal, sane people enjoying life.
The Covid IFR is in the same range as flu (around 0.15%) – do look up studies everyone, not mass media bleating about new cases . Of course there are more “cases” uncovered when you test more (just as there will be more of any virus show up if you test more actively – the vast majority of people simply don’t get tested for most viruses), but over 80% of people are asymptomatic, and over 95% require no medical attention at all, and the vast majority of deaths have been people over 80% with co-morbidities. The only relevant stat is “all-cause” deaths, which have been declining and show no Covid spike. Herd immunity is well under way, and there is no “second wave.” Media and politicians are purposefully trying to keep everyone living in a state of extreme fear and submission to dictatorial public policies. It is unhealthy, and destroying the world far more than Covid itself ever could.
It seems to me that the main issue is the rankings. If the tournaments are starting again, does that mean the rankings are unfrozen? If so, the players who don’t feel that it is safe to go to the tournament, or that it is not practical for them, will be very disadvantaged in terms of rankings. And I can understand that many of them might feel that. I’m certainly not going to the US any time soon.
I think one of the main issues that hasn’t been addressed is the asymptomatic people. They have the virus and don’t have any symptoms. If the cases in the US continue to grow at the current rate they could be over 4 million cases by the time the tourney starts. I personally don’t think they should have the tourney, especially with players coming from over seas. I agree with Dennis, just scrap this season and wait to see if the second wave will start later this year.
Wow, they really try anything to aid Serena getting that 24th major…#shameonusta