The fate of the 2020 US Open tennis tournament will be determined by late June, says the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which oversees the event. The tournament is traditionally the final Grand Slam of the tennis season and is currently set to invade New York August 31 through September 13.
To make the call, USTA officials will consult with a panel of medical experts monitoring the public health risks surrounding the tournament as much of the world battles COVID-19.
“We’re very fortunate to be the fourth Grand Slam to go, so time is on our side. Obviously, our ambition is to run the tournament,” said USTA CEO and executive director Mike Dowse, via ESPN. “[But] the driving factor will be the health and well being of the players, the fans and our staff. To that [end] we just don’t have enough information that we can run the tournament safely. We’ve set a time frame around June to make that decision.”
The global tennis schedule has been dramatically altered as the virus has spread throughout the world. Both ATP and WTA tours were shaken up last month upon the cancellation of other high-profile U.S. tournaments BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open, which led to ongoing suspensions to be implemented across the tours. Soon after, the French Tennis Federation, governing body of the French Open, stunned players, tours, and other tennis governing bodies by postponing the spring tournament to the fall.
Questions surrounding the US Open came into play upon that sudden rescheduling as the 2020 French Open is now scheduled to begin September 20, only one week after the conclusion of the US Open. Players and USTA officials alike expressed concern for the back-to-back scheduling that requires quick bi-continental travel, training periods for the change in court surface, and conflict with the late-September ATP exhibition Laver Cup.
January’s Australian Open is the only major of the year to be completed as scheduled as both Roland Garros and US Open remain up in the air. Wimbledon, the sport’s most iconic tournament, has been cancelled for the first time in 75 years.
While the USTA consults with experts over the fate of the US Open, the tournament’s grounds are being utilized for medical services. The indoor training center at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has been transformed into a 100,000 square foot supplemental hospital space to accommodate for need in hard-hit New York City. Additionally, the complex’s Louis Armstrong Stadium is currently serving as a community kitchen that prepares and distributes thousands of meals per day to patients, front line workers and area school children.