Hesitant players aside, US Open looks to hold on to initial schedule



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Hesitant players aside, US Open looks to hold on to initial schedule

The US Open could be held on its scheduled date between 31st August-13th September, according to a report published in ESPN, on 15th June. This report follows on the lines of a Forbes report published on 14th June that talks were ongoing among the USTA, ATP and WTA regarding the US Open’s organising this year.

The subject of talks between the USTA and ATP involved the relocation of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to New York as a warm-up tournament for the US Open. The proposal also suggested that the Cincinnati Open be played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – same as the US Open, a week prior to the US Open, and in lieu of qualifiers that would have otherwise preceded the fortnightly event.

However, a roadblock for this proposal came in the form of another event paying the price for such potential re-shifting of venues. The Citi Open in Washington, D.C. – the men’s and women’s combined tournament – was initially planned to the first tournament once the Tour resumed on 1st August.

However, if the talks have been successful, as reported, the Citi Open will be played on 16th August which was the scheduled date for the start of the Cincinnati Open. Earlier, the United States Tennis Association had announced a set of guidelines for players to follow with an eye on holding the event at its usual venue.

According to the ESPN report, the USTA is waiting for approval from the New York administrative authorities’ approval to officially announce the US Open’s confirmation for 2020. Chris Widmaier, the USTA’s communications director said, “We're following each step in the (restart) procedure in the great hope that we can announce that the 2020 US Open will be played in its regularly scheduled date”.

Top players hesitant to play the US Open

Despite the removal of these hurdles, the US Open does face the threat of being boycotted by many of the top players, including former champions such as world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, world no.

2 Rafael Nadal, and 23-time Slam champion Serena Williams. Dominic Thiem and Simona Halep are other players who have expressed their doubts about playing in New York. The reasons for their scepticism are different. For Djokovic, the stringent measures outlined by the USTA was a cause of concern about playing at Flushing Meadows.

“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme. We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week.

Also, we could bring one person to the club, which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist,” he said in a recent interview. For Nadal, it was about looking at the bigger picture.

“For me, (it) is very difficult to separate the status that the world is living from my real perspective on the world of tennis, no?” he queried. “We need to be responsible; we need to be sure that the situation is safe enough, and then, of course, try to come back to our tour when the things are clear”.

Despite these reluctances, certain players are more than ready for the tennis tour to resume and the US Open to be held, even if with restrictions.