US Open 2020 is set to take place as per its original schedule amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The popular tennis tournament is likely to be held from August 31 to September 13 but without any spectators. The United States Tennis Association, USTA is expected to officially announce its plans in the coming days.
However, the Association has also shared on Monday that the formal government approval still needs to be secured to host the tournament. But, the USTA spokesperson also said that the USTA has built the plan in a very collaborative manner and has consulted repeatedly with medical and security experts.
Thus, USTA is positive about its plans to go ahead with the US Open with the support of its primary sponsors and the ESPN. Notably, ESPN pays the USTA more than $70 million every year in rights fees to televise the tournament.
Patrick Galbraith, President, USTA said during a conference call on Wednesday, “Our team has literally worked around the clock to figure out a way we can have the U.S. Open and do it in a safe way.”
Tennis Stars To Expect Eccentric Hospitality At US Open 2020
All the tennis players competing in the US Open will be subjected to regular coronavirus tests. As per the reports, many of the players will be lodged together at a hotel outside Manhattan. Furthermore, there will also be significant restrictions on their movement.
Galbraith added in the conference call, “Without having close social contact, we feel if one player gets it, it’s not going to spread. Our infectious disease specialists are confident on that. They are going to be pulled out of the environment, but you have to have close contact to get this.”
Furthermore, USTA may also cap the support staff that any player may bring to New York. The decision has been planned to further reduce the number of people at the National Tennis Centre. Some have even claimed that the allowed support staff may get reduced to just one team member for the upcoming US open.
Notably, the second-ranked Simona Halep has also expressed concerns and uncertainity about participating in the Open. She added, “Not only because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, but also because of the risk of travel, potential quarantine and then the changes around the tournament.”
However, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic differed and said that she was confident the USTA could keep players safe. She opined, “At some point it needs to start, the season. Even if it’s next year, I’m sure there is still going to be some sick people, so it’s never going to be like super, super safe, so I think the earlier we start the better it’s going to be.”
However, Pliskova lobbied for a possible increase in the size of her allowed support staff. She said, “I would appreciate if two people could go at least.”
Novak Djokovic also criticized the restrictions as “extreme.” He also organized a series of exhibition tournaments earlier this month in the Balkans. The exhibition tournaments had begun with an event last week in Serbia’s capital, ball kids on the court and number of fans in the stands as well as players hugging and high-fiving.
Under normal circumstances, US Open would have been the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year. But, men’s and women’s tours had to be called off due to the pandemic. French Open had to be postponed until late September while Wimbledon Open 2020 had already been cancelled.
While the possibility of US Open 2020 to take place as per its original schedule has thrilled tennis fans, nothing can be too sure with COVID-19. Even if the approval is secured, several factors such as global travel restrictions may still impact the US open this year.
Furthermore, it would also be interesting to see how many of the individual tennis players would actually be willing to play in the tournament. Notably, several international players have already shown resistance towards the centralized US Open plan. Moreover, even if it is held as per schedule, it would be anything but normal.