Hundreds of ATP players gathered virtually this week to discuss possible scenarios for this year’s US Open. A formal decision from tournament officials looms as to how the grand slam will be played, if at all, though potential options in discussions have drawn fierce criticism from tennis stars.
The meeting revolved around the three options reportedly on the table for late-summer tennis in North America. The first option is a total cancellation of the 2020 US Open, which would join Wimbledon as the second major to call off this year’s events.
If organizers opt to hold the tournament, one option is to double-up the US Open and the Western & Southern Open – a Masters-level tournament typically held in Cincinnati – and hold both events subsequent weeks in New York. This scenario would reportedly eliminate qualifiers from the US Open and cut the doubles field from 64 teams to 24. The final option would be to only stage the US Open, though both playing scenarios would present a number of safety modifications.
Protocols that tournament officials would implement include limiting the entourages players travel with to one person, prohibiting travel to Manhattan, supplying COVID-19 testing, centralized accommodations for players and limiting locker room access. Competition would also be without spectators.
Players have increasingly criticized the proposed measures, with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic calling the restrictions “extreme” while defending champ Rafael Nadal said he personally would not want to travel to New York at the moment. This week’s call among players could present more backlash, according to Slovak player Lukas Lacko.
“Just finished zoom call for ATP players and I have mixed feelings. There will be a lot of heat in our organization for the next couple of days I guess,” Lacko tweeted Wednesday, adding that the meeting lasted over 3 and a half hours and featured a “lot of input from players.”
However, not all players were quick to dismiss the protocols. American Danielle Collins advocated for the tournament to go on as a way for lower-ranked players to earn some income with the season halted since March.
“It’s easy when someone’s made $150 million throughout their career, to try to tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open,” Collins wrote in an Instagram post. “For those of us who don’t travel with an entourage, we actually need to start working again. It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for players and fans!”
A decision is reportedly expected to come on Monday.