With professional tennis expected to resume in July, plans are being put in place to ensure that the US Open holds as planned, although there are no conclusions yet. Part of these plans includes bringing in participants into the country and health measures necessary to keep everyone safe during the event.
Charter flights would be used to safely bring in participants from around the world straight to New York. But this would not be done without making sure that the player’s COVID-19 test result comes backs as positive, before allowing them to leave the country. There would also be a centralized housing system while in New York to ensure that everyone stays together. And every day, temperature checks would be taken.
During play, no spectators would be allowed into the venue and there would be fewer officials on the court. On practice days, there would be no locker room access.
There are also plans to expand the locker room area to include the indoor courts in Flushing Meadows as well. These comprehensive measures are in place to limit the chances of spreading and contracting the virus. They are also in-line with COVID-19 safety protocols.
Despite the considered measures, there is no guarantee that the tournament would hold. According to Stacey Allaster, chief executive of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the plans mentioned now are not permanent. She said, “all of this is still fluid. We have made no decisions at all.”
Allaster also said that they would try to provide a safe environment for participants to engage in as well as the possibility of choosing another venue. “We continue to be, I would say, 150% focused on staging a safe environment for conducting a US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on our dates. It’s all I wake up — our team wakes up — thinking about. The idea of an alternative venue, an alternative date … we’ve got a responsibility to explore it, but it doesn’t have a lot of momentum,” she said.
An official announcement on whether the US Open would hold is expected by mid-June.
Written by: Leon Osamor