Former World No. 4 and CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Todd Martin says that he does not think that the US Open would go ahead this year due to the current global health crisis. In an interview to the Tennis365 website, Martin, a former Board member of the USTA, spoke about the challenges of holding the Grand Slam tournament in the current environment for spectators, sponsors and the players.
“I served on the USTA board for six years and while there is always a way to consider putting on a different event, when you are talking about a massive core of your revenue stream going away (without spectators) it’s going to be tough.
“Also, you don’t know what the impact would be on sponsorship, as they expect a lot of hospitality for their clients when they sponsor the event, so there is a lot of revenue there that will be lost. “That is before you get to thinking about how you bring an international player into a tennis centre that is currently being used as a temporary hospital and how do you then get them back out of New York? How do you secure them and protect all of them when they share such confined spaces? The locker room at the US Open is massive, but it is no big enough.
The ATP grass court event in Newport, Rhode Island for which Martin is the Tournament Director has also been put on hold after the Rhode Island Governor banned large gatherings earlier this week in the state. Martin added that he thinks it may be best for tennis officials to cancel the 2020 season and start preparing for the future of the sport when the current crisis is over.
“Sometimes you just have to stand still and let things pass. “Clarity comes from making a decisive decision that allows you to stand still. Once you make that decisive decision, you start to see a clearer path. “The easiest decisive decision we can make right now is to abandon 2020 and, to a point that is probably the right thing to do, but only because it gives the clarity to make all the important decisions and lay the groundwork for the future of the sport."