The 2020 US Open is still slated to get underway this August in New York. Organizers announced their plan Tuesday to keep the tournament scheduled for August 31 through September 13 with a number of safety measures and restrictions to be implemented despite player pushback.
The tournament’s governing body, the USTA, gained approval for the plan from heads of the ATP and WTA, the men’s and women’s respective touring circuits, as well as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Organizers have agreed to not only hold the US Open as planned but also relocate Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open – a prolific tune-up tournament – to New York as well.
“We are incredibly excited that Governor Cuomo and New York State have today approved our plan to host the 2020 US Open and 2020 Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center,” USTA CEO Mike Dowse said in a statement. “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,” he added. “Being able to hold these events in 2020 is a boost for the City of New York and the entire tennis landscape.”
Formal details of this year’s event will be announced on Wednesday, though newly-appointed Tournament Director Stacey Allaster had previously revealed a series of protocols to potentially be implemented. They include: no spectators at matches, requiring international players to test negative prior to traveling to the US and see all athletes undergo testing throughout the tournament’s run. Additionally, accommodations would be centralized and access into Manhattan be prohibited, along with players being restricted to traveling with only one guest.
Despite organizers moving forward with the plan to keep the grand slam on the schedule, players on both the men’s and women’s tour have expressed their concerns for competing in New York.
Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal has recently said he is uncomfortable with the thought of traveling to New York at the moment but admitted that things could change in the months to come. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic offered a harsher commentary towards the tournament’s new restrictions. The three-time US Open champ called the new measures “extreme” and threatened to skip the tournament. Outspoken Aussie Nick Kyrgios slammed organizers as being “selfish” and joked “I’ll get my hazmat suit ready.”
Smh – people that live in the US of course are pushing the Open to go ahead 🤦🏽♂️ ‘Selfish’ I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 16, 2020
Australia’s top-ranked woman Ashleigh Barty admitted she isn’t convinced about traveling to the US. Meanwhile Serena Williams may not jump at the chance to compete if it means she would have to go weeks without seeing her daughter, according to her longtime coach. On the other hand, Czech star Karolina Pliskova has said she wouldn’t mind playing in an empty stadium while American standout Danielle Collins has advocated for the major to stay on the schedule in order for lower-ranked players to earn an income after much of the season has already been wiped out.
Players not only have to consider the new normals of this year’s US Open but also the quick turnaround before the postponed French Open – rescheduled to begin only a week after the US Open’s conclusion.
No professional tournaments have been played since March and both ATP and WTA tours face clear schedules through July, including the cancellation of Wimbledon.