Many have expressed their opinion about the US Open 2020: USTA, Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Todd Martin. For now, there is only one certainty: the US Open is still scheduled, on set dates, from 31 August to 13 September. But there are many unknowns, too many rumors and disagreements.
The ongoing global pandemic has officially halted the 2020 tennis season at least until July 13th, but events are also under threat in August. The women's singles of the Rogers Cup was already canceled. Queens, where Flushing Meadows is located (home of the US Open), is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in New York.
Elmhurst hospital is no longer able to manage COVID-19 patients. It was therefore decided to partially use the facilities of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, transforming them into a temporary field hospital.
Playing the US Open will fundamentally depend on the coronavirus outbreak in New York and, in general, in the USA. USTA issued an official statement a few days ago. Taking a firm position, but perhaps too optimistic: "Our plan is to play the US Open on the dates scheduled and in New York, with the presence of the crowd.
In any case, we recognize that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the context may also change very quickly and for this reason, we are also evaluating other hypotheses, including that of playing without crowds. At the moment we intend to make further decisions on the development of the tournament in the period between the next six to eight weeks, while we will continue to keep everyone updated."
Rumors were talking about moving the tournament from USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to Indian Wells Garden, a very difficult hypothesis to implement. Rafael Nadal expressed his opinion about the whole season and therefore, implicitly, about the US Open: "I don't think we will return to play in 2020, indeed I would sign to play the Australian Open 2021, in tennis terms I already have this as a concern."
Todd Martin doubted that the tournament can be organized without crowds: “I don't think it's feasible. I have been on the board of the USTA for six years and it is difficult to respect the prospect of earnings without crowds.
Furthermore, it is not even known what the impact on sponsors could be, there will be many gains that will be lost. At the same time, how do you organize the tournament in New York? The spaces are huge, but not enough to guarantee safety.
I would like to see some tennis this year, but it is necessary to make the correct decision for health and safety. The simplest decision that could be made right now is to cancel 2020, in order to reflect on the future of our sport."
Boris Becker was also skeptical: "New York is the only Slam still standing, but it has been hit hard by the virus in recent weeks. I don't think it would be an ideal choice to organize the tournament there."
There is another problem to consider. From an economic point of view, playing the US Open would allow organizers to lose less money, but technically it could be a disaster. This is because, only a week later, the French Open should take place.
For many players, it will be difficult to move from hard-courts to clay-courts so quickly: it cannot be excluded that many top-players will skip New York to play directly in Paris, preparing first on clay-courts. In short, USTA is having to solve a big problem, and postponing from week to week may not be the best decision.