U.S. Open: Fate of Grand Slam to be decided in June

andrewhendrie in News 16 Apr 2020
U.S. Open coronavirus
The US Open is in doubt (Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA)

The U.S. Open will make a decision on the status of their Grand Slam in June – but have declared it’s ‘highly unlikely’ the tournament will be played behind closed doors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the city that never sleeps, but it’s also now the worldwide epicentre of the coronavirus, putting the U.S. Open – the season’s final Grand Slam – in serious jeopardy for 2020.

Drawing over 700,000 fans each year, the U.S. Open is famous for it’s electric late-night atmosphere – and that combined with general health concerns surrounding players and staff means the tournament almost certainly won’t be played without fans.

Playing without spectators—we’re not taking anything off the table right now, but to be honest and open I think that’s highly unlikely,” USTA CEO Mike Dowse told reporters. “That’s not really in the spirit of the celebration of tennis.

“And it also goes back to the health and well being of not just the spectators but of our players and support staff that help run the tournament. So unless the medical industry or medical experts come up with a solution that truly is fool-proof and safe, we don’t see that as an option.”

Of the 672,931 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, 222,284 have been in New York – and of the 34,386 deaths nationwide, 14,636 occurred in the state.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered residents to wear masks anytime they are within six feet of someone outside.

All forms of tennis have been suspended until July 13 at the earliest, including Wimbledon, which has been abandoned for the first time since World War Two.

The Coupe Rogers in Montreal, originally scheduled for August 7-16, has also been postponed following safety measures put in place by the Quebec government.

Currently scheduled for August 31 to September 12, Dowse said the U.S. Open would make a final call on whether the tournament would go ahead in a staff meeting in June.

“A time frame around June to make that [US Open] decision,” Dowse said. “And the way we’re approaching it is through a medical advisory group.

“So we have five or six doctors that are consulting with us on a regular basis and based on that information we’ll make the decision whether it’s safe to play the tournament or not.”