US Open WILL go ahead without fans

andrewhendrie in News 17 Jun 2020
US Open to be played
Arthur Ashe Stadium (Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The US Open will be staged without fans as originally scheduled between August 31 and September 13 – but under strict safety conditions and protocols.

The Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in Queens was given the green light to go ahead by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The US Open will be held in Queens, NY, without fans from August 31 to September 13,” Cuomo tweeted. “The USTA will take extraordinary precautions to protect players and staff, including robust testing, additional cleaning, extra locker room space, and dedicated housing & transportation.”


Cuomo’s announcement comes after weeks of debate amongst players questioning whether the tournament should be held.

Simona Halep is almost certainly set to withdraw, Nick Kyrgios branded the US Open ‘selfish’ for going ahead as originally planned, Rafael Nadal previously stated he had ‘little desire’ to defend his title and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has criticised the ‘extreme’ safety measures put in place in order for the tournament to be played.

Players will be subjected to COVID-19 testing 1-2 times a week, while they will also be required to wear a face mask when on-site, provided they are not training or competing in a match.

Additionally, players have been granted a maximum of two hotel rooms with a limit of two guests per room – unless they choose to rent a private home outside of Manhattan, which will cost them $40,000 out of their own pocket.

Qualifying and mixed doubles at the US Open have been scrapped for 2020, while men’s and women’s doubles draws have been shortened to 32.

However, there will be a qualifying draw at the Western & Southern Open, which has been moved from Cincinnati to New York as an appetiser to the U.S. Open. Qualifying begins on August 22, with main draw action taking place between August 22-28.

Queens, the New York borough where the US Open is held, has the second-highest death toll of any county in America.

New York has been the state hit hardest by coronavirus, with more than 30,000 deaths. The Billie Jean National Tennis Centre was turned into a temporary hospital to help treat patients at the height of the pandemic.

The US Open is set to be the first Grand Slam played since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Indian Wells in March and caused all forms of tennis to be suspended until August 1 at the earliest.

The ATP and WTA tours are expected to announce the full calendar for August later this week.

“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. “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.”