USTA confirm 2020 US Open will go ahead, Serena Williams will play
After months of uncertainty and speculation, the USTA today held a press conference in which they officially announced that the 2020 US Open will go ahead as scheduled, beginning on August 31st.
There were concerns that the 2020 professional tennis season would not resume at all after it abruptly came to a halt in mid-March. The entirety of the clay court season was initially wiped out, although Roland Garros controversially announced provisional plans to go ahead in September, just a week after the close of the US Open. Later down the line the grass season was cut, with Wimbledon as no exception, and as cases of the virus rose across the world, a resumption of the tours in time for the late summer looked increasingly unlikely.
However, in line with government advice, the USTA have decided that they can now safely go ahead and hold the US Open, albeit with a number of significant precautions in place. There will no fans in attendance and the press are also expected to be absent, with video calls replacing traditional press conferences. Players and everyone else working on site will be routinely tested and those travelling will be encouraged to stay within the confines of the tournament hotel and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre. As there will be no spectators, much of the public space will be available to be utilised by the players including outdoor cafes and areas that are planned to be converted into recreational spots such as basketball courts or even cinemas.
Further to hosting the US Open, Flushing Meadows will also be the venue for this year’s Cincinnati Masters. In an attempt to reduce the amount of travelling around that players will have to do, and to ensure that there is a chance to get some competitive practice in after 5 months off-time, the tournament is moving to New York on a one-off basis.
Questions were raised over how many of the top players would commit to playing with the virus still causing severe problems in large parts of the world. Serena Williams was the only name confirmed by the USTA on Wednesday, but they also intimated that conversations had taken place between many players and their representative and that they were confident that there would be plenty of star power on display.
The ATP Tour has released a revised schedule through to mid-October:
14th August – Citi Open – Washington – Hard
22nd August – Cincinnati Masters – New York (Flushing Meadows) – Hard
31st August – US Open – New York (Flushing Meadows) – Hard
8th September – Austrian Open – Kitzbühel – Clay
13th September – Madrid Open – Madrid – Clay
20th September – Internazionali BNL d’Italia – Rome – Clay
27th September – Roland Garros – Paris – Clay
The proposed WTA schedule is similar, only with the Palermo Ladies Open from July 31st, the Istanbul Open instead of the Austrian, and Strasbourg the same week as Rome. The schedule for the remainder of the year is expected in mid-July, but there is still the chance that everything could change once more as the global situation continues to develop.
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