The fate of the US Open 2020 hangs in the balance, threatened by external forces that risk wiping out this season's edition. There are many reasons to question its programming. Officially the dates are from 31 August to 13 September 2020.
The tournament should be preceded by the Western and Southern Open, ATP Masters 1000 of Cincinnati which this year will be played exceptionally at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The global pandemic is raging in the United States, bringing many states and counties to their knees.
In New York, the situation was tragic for a few weeks, while now it seems to have stabilized. However, the risks are still very high: the USA is the first country in the world for both infections and deaths due to Covid-19.
A clue comes from the cancellation of the Citi Open in Washington, an event scheduled in mid-August, which would have given a substantial response on the health of tennis after the resumption following the interruption. The emergency instead convinced the organizers to cancel the event in the US capital, sending a bad signal also for the tournaments that would follow the Citi Open.
Forces that threaten the US Open
First of all, the global pandemic, which is recording record highs in the country. Infected and dead and very afraid, they are maintaining a high level of alert. There is a month to go before the tournament starts and the emergency situation is still very problematic.
The security protocols should be extremely rigid and restrictive: the risk of infection remains very high for the players, as everyone saw during the Adria Tour, between Croatia and Serbia. However, if the pandemic continues to spread USTA will be forced to cancel the tournament.
Many players don't feel comfortable going to New York. In fact, the presence of great champions like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is also very much in doubt. The Spaniard, defending champion, could skip New York to show up directly for the autumn clay-season in Europe.
Rafa has not yet decided whether or not to play Flushing meadows. Djokovic's presence is also in doubt. The Serbian and his staff have many doubts about the state of the pandemic in the USA: a trip to New York could foresee problems, even from the media point of view, especially after all the criticisms that Nole received for the organization of the Adria Tour, tournament that violated many social distancing protocols.
Many other champions have already expressed a desire not to play at the US Open, highlighting all the risks to which they would be exposed during the tournament.
Finally, the absence of the crowd and, therefore, of the expected proceeds, could be an additional parameter of evaluation for making or not playing the tournament. Unlike Wimbledon, which has had pandemic insurance since 2003, USTA doesn't have a parachute like insurance. The business generated by the tournament is always very high, but this year may be zero.